With the woman who accused him of rape sitting in the courtroom, ex-police officer Kenneth Moreno was upbraided by Justice Gregory Carro, who said today that when law enforcement officials commit crimes, "It endangers the fabric of our society... You, sir, ripped a gaping hole in that fabric." Carro then sentenced him to a year in jail for official misconduct and Moreno was whisked into custody. His accuser, who wept in the courtroom gallery, left without making a statement.

The sentencing was the coda to a controversial jury verdict that convicted Moreno and his partner Franklin Mata of three counts of official misconduct for repeatedly visiting the apartment of a drunken 27-year old woman in 2008. During the trial, Moreno was acquitted of rape and burglary charges, which defense attorney Joseph Tacopino emphasized when he described the official misconduct misdemeanors as "victimless" crimes.

In their dramatic 32-page sentencing submission, the prosecution sought to make the rape accusations weigh heavily in the sentencing. In her submission, prosecutor Coleen Balbert referred to the officers' "repeated betrayals of the public trust" that were "both corrosive and destructive to our society." For his part, Tacopino asserted that the prosecution's submission was "replete with exaggerations," later stating that "It was as if they didn't hear the 'not' before the guilty in the verdict." Tacopino cited Moreno's lack of disciplinary complaints, a meritorious family life, and first-response service on 9/11 as proof of the quality of his character—and he successfully persuaded Carro not to let the accuser read a victim's impact statement.

However, Justice Carro was unimpressed with Tacopino's characterization of Moreno as "more of a simpleton than a sexual predator." "Simpleton like a fox," stated Justice Carro, who said he "accepted the jury verdict, as all should accept the jury verdict" but also dismantled Moreno's testimony, "You had a duty to testify truthfully and it's clear you didn't...It was a classic case of admit what you can't deny, and deny what you can't admit."

Many still object to the controversial jury verdict, and several groups, including New York's chapter of the National Organization for Women protested outside the courthouse Monday morning. After denying a request that Moreno be allowed to surrender to the court in 20 days, the judge ordered Moreno immediately be taken into custody. "I disagree with the judge," Tacopino said in a brief press conference after the sentencing, "I agree with the jury. I wish everyone was as brave as that jury."

Update (9/9/11): Gothamist has published a long-form feature about the Rape Cop case, written by one of the jurors. It takes you behind the scenes during their deliberations, and explains how they came to their controversial verdict. Buy it today as a PDF or on Kindle.