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NYPD officer pleads not guilty to rape

NEW YORK -- An off-duty police officer accused of raping a teacher in upper Manhattan identified himself as a patrolman at the time of his arrest, admitted he was drunk and fretted about his girlfriend finding out he had been caught -- in his words -- "cheating with another girl," prosecutors said Wednesday.

The statements to arresting officers were made public after Officer Michael Pena pleaded not guilty to rape, sex assault and other charges. Pena, 27, was arrested last month and remains behind bars after failing to post $1 million bond.

Defense attorney Ephraim Savitt said his client denies the charges. Authorities, he added, haven't yet produced any physical evidence.

"We're still at a very early stage," Savitt said outside court. "There's nothing forensically that shows he raped anyone." Authorities allege an off-duty Pena approached the 25-year-old woman at about 6 a.m. Aug. 19 in the Inwood neighborhood and asked her how to get to a subway stop. Then he grabbed her, showed her his gun, ushered her several blocks to an apartment building backyard and raped her, they say.

Pena joined the NYPD in 2008. He has been suspended without pay.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, calling the allegations "very disturbing," has ordered an investigation into the officer's background to see if there's evidence of other misconduct.

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