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NYPD officers charged in sodomy case

  • Story Highlights
  • Officer accused of assaulting man with police baton at Brooklyn subway station
  • Two other officers accused of trying to cover up the incident
  • Two officers who aren't charged told grand jury they saw assault
  • District attorney: Testifying officers "deserve a great deal of praise"
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From La Neice Collins
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A grand jury Tuesday indicted three New York police officers on charges related to the alleged sodomy of a man on a Brooklyn subway platform in October.

Michael Mineo says New York Police officers sodomized him inside a Brooklyn subway station.

Michael Mineo says New York Police officers sodomized him inside a Brooklyn subway station.

The indictments came after two other officers told the grand jury they saw Officer Richard Kern assault 24-year-old Michael Mineo with a police baton in October, authorities said.

"I think that both officers who stepped forward acted in a responsible, if not a heroic, way," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Tuesday. "I think both of them deserve a great deal of praise for doing that."

Kern, 25, faces charges including aggravated sexual abuse, a felony that could put him in prison for up to 25 years if convicted.

Officers Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz, both 26, face charges including hindering prosecution. Both are accused of trying to cover up the incident by falsifying records.

All three pleaded not guilty Tuesday at their arraignment before Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge John Walsh.

Authorities say Kern and Morales approached Mineo, a Brooklyn tattoo artist, on October 15 after seeing him walking down a street smoking what they believed to be marijuana.

As the uniformed officers approached Mineo, he fled. The officers chased him into a Brooklyn subway station, where they apprehended him on the platform, authorities said.

Cruz and a transit policeman, Kevin Maloney, joined the other officers and helped to subdue Mineo, who was then handcuffed with his hands behind his back, according to authorities.

Mineo claims Kern used his retractable police baton to sexually assault him on the subway platform. Witnesses said they heard Mineo's cries.

Mineo's lawyers said he showed officers he was bleeding, but they provided no medical attention and didn't call a supervisor as Mineo requested.

Kern gave Mineo a summons for disorderly conduct, and Mineo was released, authorities said. Mineo sought treatment at an area hospital, and hospital staff notified police that they treated a patient who claimed to be a victim of police brutality.

Hynes said that based on forensic information gathered by a medical examiner and the police lab, there was enough evidence to move the case to a grand jury.

The grand jury started hearing testimony October 28. Maloney and another officer testified that they had seen Kern assault Mineo with his baton.

After Tuesday's arraignment, Kern was released on $15,000 bail; the other two officers were released on their own recognizance.

Cruz's defense attorney called the case "paper thin."

Kern's attorney said Mineo's accusations were motivated by money, saying Mineo is planning to file a civil suit.

Mineo's attorneys would not explain why their client ran from police. The attorneys said they plan to file a civil suit, but they did not give information on the damages they plan to seek.

Mineo said he still suffers the effects of the attack.

"I relive this every day," Mineo said Tuesday. "Nobody should have to go through something like this."

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