The NYPD officer charged with raping an intoxicated woman in her East Village apartment in 2008 testified Tuesday that he admitted having sex in a secretly taped meeting outside his precinct only because she threatened to tell cops that he attacked her.
"I’m just thinking about pleasing her, telling her whatever she wanted to hear, just to make her happy," Kenneth Moreno told the Manhattan jurors. "It would have been a disaster for me."
Moreno, 43, and his partner, Officer Franklin Mata, 29, are charged with rape and burglary in the Dec. 7, 2008, incident. Moreno is accused of having sex with the woman during one of four visits to her apartment that night after a cab driver summoned the police to help the drunken woman from his vehicle.
Mata, who accompanied Moreno, testified that he fell asleep while watching TV in another room.
Moreno Tuesday said he was "confused" when the 29-year-old Gap executive confronted him outside his station house a couple of days after the incident and demanded assurances that he had used a condom.
"She was asking about STDs," Moreno testified. "Unless you can get them from a kiss on the forehead, she had nothing to worry about."
On Monday, Moreno testified that he was a reformed alcoholic who tried to comfort the lonely woman and counsel her about booze. He said he told her that he’d be her "boyfriend" if she stopped drinking.
"It was meant as a motivation to her," he said. "I didn’t mean it seriously."
He said the woman stripped to her bra and tried to seduce him, but he refused to have sex.
Moreno said he made the admissions on the tape to prevent a false accusation, but it was a bad decision. "Look at where I am now, two and a half years later."
Erin Murphy, a criminal law professor at NYU's law school, said Officer Kenneth Moreno's testimony that he lied to the alleged victim by saying he used a condom just to assuage her "sounds like a really great closing argument for a prosecutor.
"You heard it from his own mouth," she said. "When he worries about losing his job, he lies and says things that aren't true."
More broadly, Murphy said the defense has it tough because "there's a lot more suspicious stuff in this case."
“The series of stories [Moreno] has told strike me as an implausible stream of events," she said. The fake 9-1-1 call, the woman's vulnerability and her credibility in court make for a solid prosecution, she added.