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Ex-cop, acquitted of rape, sentenced to prison for misconduct

From Hussein Saddique, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kenneth Moreno, fired from NY Police Department, is sentenced to a year in prison
  • Moreno and partner admitted they broke police guidelines, judge says
  • The two were acquitted of rape and burglary charges

(CNN) -- Former New York police officer Kenneth Moreno was sentenced Monday to one year in prison for three counts of official misconduct in a case of alleged rape involving himself and another New York police officer.

A jury acquitted Moreno and former partner Franklin Mata of felony rape and burglary in May, but found them guilty of official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Moreno and Mata were on duty at the time of the alleged incident.

Moreno and Mata were accused of returning to the apartment of a 27-year-old woman whom they had helped earlier in the evening and raping her in December 2008.

The case set off a public storm, and the men were later fired from the New York Police Department. On Monday a group of female protesters gathered in front of the courthouse holding signs that read, "NYPD: Protect women," and, "Take rape seriously."

Moreno and Mata admitted they broke police guidelines by hiding from their superiors the fact that they went back to the woman's apartment. Moreno admitted to making a fake 911 emergency call so that police dispatchers would send the officers back to the woman's apartment, according to Judge Gregory Carro at New York County Supreme Court.

Carro acknowledged that a parole committee recommended the two men be given probation instead of prison time in their sentencing, but he condemned Moreno's conduct.

"Law enforcement plays an important role in the fabric of our society," Carro told Moreno. "You ripped that fabric." For that reason, the judge said, he imposed the "maximum sentence" of one year for each count, to be served concurrently.

Police took Moreno into custody after the judge rejected a request that would let him surrender himself to authorities at a later date.

Moreno's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said publicity played a big role in the sentence. "I don't think if this had been an anonymous defendant that the sentence would have been same," he said.

Tacopina told reporters he intended to appeal and that he would apply to release Moreno on bail during the appellate process.

Mata's sentencing was adjourned to Wednesday after his lawyer failed to appear in court because of scheduling issues.

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