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Jun 22


She won’t have to face him again.
Disgraced sex-assault cop Michael Pena pleaded guilty to rape today in a deal that’ll allow his schoolteacher victim to avoid a retrial for rape-related charges. Morose-looking Pena, cuffed and wearing an orange prison shirt and pants, mumbled “guilty” four times to two counts of rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Pena’s victim sat in the second row, wearing a smart, cream-colored sleeveless dress as she stared down her attacker. Pena’s parents sat stoic on the other side of the courtroom. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers said he agreed to a deal that’ll “spare the complaining witness … of having to come to come to court and testify in retrial.”

Former cop Michael Pena
“Michael Pena took responsibility for his violent criminal actions and will serve up to life in prison,” Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance said. “This plea spares the victim from testifying again about the crimes committed against her, and it is my hope this resolution brings a brave young teacher a measure of justice and closure.”
Pena also didn’t want to rehash his horrific act. “He doesn’t want to go through this again,” said defense lawyer Ephraim Savitt. “There’s closure to the case and there won’t be another trial with the victim and her family going through it again and his own family going through it again.” In return for his plea to rape, Pena agreed to a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, but that number is virtually meaningless. As The Post reported exclusively in May, the victim was satisfied with the 75-year sentence meted out to Pena, which virtually guarantees he will die in prison. Pena would have to live to be 103 before he could see a parole officer. “My client is never getting out of prison whether he pleads guilty or not because of the 75-year sentence,” Savitt said. The defense is appealing the 75-year sentence “to bring it down to a normal range as opposed to an astronomical range,” according Savitt.
A jury last March convicted Pena of oral and anal sodomy, but deadlocked on two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault after two jurors held out on those charges. The added 25 years Pena could have got for the rape counts at retrial would be moot, sources said the victim felt. The young victim did not want to relive the horrific details of the brutal attack again, given the already tough sentence. The thug had pulled his service weapon on the terrified young schoolteacher, then 24, last August on what was to have been her first day on the job. Pena dragged her into an Inwood alley, repeatedly threatened to “blow your f–king face off,” and sexually assaulted her as frantic neighbors called 911 to report the attack. The emotional victim told Carruthers that her life was “shattered” by the brazen assault. She said her world would never be the same, and that the attack would haunt her every day for the rest of her life.
Additional reporting by David K. Li

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