Last month, former police officer Michael Pena was sentenced to 75 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 25-year-old school teacher at gunpoint while off-duty in Manhattan in August 2011. The jury deadlocked on the rape charges, sparking tremendous outrage. But now, the Post reports that Pena is set to accept a plea deal today. He is expected to plead guilty to rape, and will not face significant (if any) additional prison time.
After Pena was convicted of three counts of predatory sexual assault, prosecutors left the door open to possibly pursue a retrial on the rape charge. Media reports had suggested that the reason for the initial mistrial on the rape charge was because the jury was fixated on weird details, like wondering why the rape victim couldn't remember the color of the car near where she was raped. And while semen was found on her underwear, there was no proof of penetration besides the victim's eyewitness testimony.
The victim ultimately seemed to be leaning toward no retrial: one source had said, she didn't "want to go through the ordeal of another trial just so that Pena gets more time on top of what’s essentially already a life sentence." This plea deal seems to ensure that she won't have to again.
What's most surprising about this deal is that defense lawyer Ephraim Savitt agreed to it. Last month, Savitt wrote a impassioned op-ed about what he called an unjust sentence, castigating Judge Richard Carruthers for pursuing "good press and even better politics." But Carruthers sentence made it abundantly clear that he believes the crimes Pena was charged with were equal to rape—and it seems that today it'll be made official.