NYPD officer Kenneth Moreno leaves Manhattan Criminal Court. (April 15,...

NYPD officer Kenneth Moreno leaves Manhattan Criminal Court. (April 15, 2011) Credit: Craig Ruttle

The New York City cop charged with raping a drunk fashion designer in her apartment in 2008 testified Tuesday that he admitted having sex in a secretly taped meeting only because she threatened to make a scene at his police precinct.

"I'm just thinking about pleasing her, telling her whatever she wanted to hear, just to make her happy," Officer Kenneth Moreno told jurors on his second day as a witness in Manhattan Supreme Court. " . . . It would have been a disaster for me."

Moreno is charged with rape for allegedly having sex with the passed-out woman on their third post-midnight visit to her East Village apartment after escorting her inside from a cab on Dec. 7, 2008. His partner, Officer Franklin Mata, is accused of helping.

Moreno had testified that he was a recovering alcoholic who kept returning to try to counsel the woman about booze. He said she stripped and tried to seduce him on his last visit, but he refused to have sex. Tuesday, he tried to explain damaging passages from the meeting recorded by investigators 10 days later.

Moreno, 43, said he was "confused" when the woman confronted him outside his station house and angrily demanded assurances he had used a condom to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, because the two had parted on friendly terms and never had intercourse.

"She was asking about STDs," Moreno testified. "Unless you can get them from a kiss on the forehead, she had nothing to worry about."

He testified Monday that he believed the woman was unhappy because she was lonely, and he offered to be her "boyfriend" if she stopped drinking. He returned to that subject on the tape, but insisted he wasn't serious -- he was just worried she might be angry he hadn't asked her out.

"It was meant as a motivation to her," he said. "I didn't mean it seriously. Now, I'm thinking she took it serious."

During the 20-minute tape, Moreno denies having sex, but at other points says that he used a condom, that "it was only me" and not Mata, that the night got "crazy," and that "a lot of other things happened" in addition to sex.

Moreno said he made the admissions to try to prevent a false accusation, but it was a bad decision. "Look at where I am now," he testified, "2 1/2 years later."

As cross-examination began yesterday, Moreno was combative, engaging in sharp exchanges with prosecutors.

He admitted, for example, making a phony 911 call so he could return to the accuser's apartment, but said his motive was to help a person with a drinking problem, not to have sex. "I wasn't just a New York City police officer that day, I was also a human being that day," he said.

"You're not paid to be a human being," responded prosecutor Coleen Balbert.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Latest video

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME