After two NYPD officers were acquitted in June of following a drunk woman into her own home and returning to rape her, the public outcry was electrifying. There were protests in front of City Hall, and a vigilante poster campaign in Kenneth Moreno’s Brooklyn neighborhood (I did not participate in putting up the posters, but I live nearby and I sure was pleased to see them). Moreno’s defense—that he had only snuggled with the semi-conscious victim and had only returned to the apartment with his partner, Franklin Mata, to lecture her about the dangers of drinking—was so ridiculous, so patently full of shit that you could smell it all the way up to the Bronx. But that didn’t stop the jury from acquitting. In the article announcing the acquittal, the New York Times noted:
The jury’s decision also underscores the difficulty of obtaining favorable results for women who say they were sexually assaulted, and who often are subjected to scrutiny and skepticism that keep many of them from speaking out. In this case, defense lawyers pounced on the credibility of the woman because she was very drunk on the night in question and did not remember many details.
Moreno and Mata were convicted only of official misconduct—“official misconduct” being perhaps the greatest understatement of all time. But while the judge could have sentenced Moreno to no jail time—as it was technically his first offense—he instead threw the book at him. Moreno got a year in prison—he’s sure to be popular at Rikers!—and an unprecedented verbal asswhupping. Because apparently Justice Gregory Carro of the State Supreme Court, who presided over the trial, is no fool, and probably agrees with prevailing public opinion that Kenneth Moreno is a lying sack of shit rapist. He practically came out and said so:
“During your testimony,” Justice Carro said, “you told a story that was incredible. Your testimony was classic for admitting what you couldn’t deny, denying what you couldn’t admit and classic tailoring of your testimony to the witnesses who testified before you.”
When law enforcement officers commit crimes, it tears at the fabric of society, Justice Carro said.
“You, sir, ripped a gaping hole in that fabric in committing your crimes.”
Justice Carro alternated emotions between anger and sarcasm and he recounted Mr. Moreno’s testimony. At times, Justice Carro seemed like an angry father, appearing as though he was finished speaking, only to throw in more criticism off the top of his head.
Fuck yeah, Justice Carro! He couldn’t overturn the gross miscarriage of justice that happened here, but I’ll take any small victory I can get these days. Having the judge openly condemn Moreno in public and on the record is pretty sweet. It seems like public humiliation and condemnation may be the best we can hope for sometimes. Moreno’s victim reportedly wept in the courtroom as the judge spoke, and I hope she got some small measure of satisfaction from hearing that the judge, at least, did not believe her rapist’s lies.
Update: A few hours later, Moreno was released on $125,000 bail by Appeals Court Judge Nelson Roman so he can appeal his conviction on official misconduct charges. Good luck with your appeal, asswipe. You’ll lose, and I hope the legal costs break you financially.