Posted on August 10, 2020 in Sex Crimes
In June 2020, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that it would be filing criminal charges against a Phoenix police officer. The charges stemmed from alleged misconduct while on duty.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department stated that Officer Sean Pena was the subject of a criminal investigation by the Special Investigations Detail of the Phoenix Police Department. As of November 2019, Officer Pena was placed on administrative leave.
The findings of the investigation were turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in February 2020. A termination hearing was pending for Officer Pena, who had been with the department for about three years.
A news report by Fox 10 states that the Phoenix Police Department confirmed to Fox 10 that Officer Pena was fired on July 23, 2020.
According to the Maricopa County Superior Court docket, the charges against Officer Pena are sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer. Charges of unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer are felony charges.
If the victim is under 15 years of age, the charge is a Class 2 felony. It is a Class 3 felony if the victim is between the ages of 15 and 17. If the victim is 18 years old or older, the charge is a Class 5 felony.
A not guilty plea arraignment was held on July 23, 2020. An Initial Pretrial Conference is scheduled for September 1, 2020, followed by a Comprehensive Pretrial Conference and another Pretrial Conference. The trial is scheduled for December 10, 2020.
A woman claims that Officer Pena assaulted her on August 26, 2018, while she was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car. She alleges the incident took place at the railroad tracks near Buchanan Street and Third Avenue.
The woman claims that Officer Pena stopped her at a city park after hours. He arrested her on an outstanding warrant from Yavapai County. Officer Pena denies the allegations claiming that the woman offered to perform oral sex in exchange for him not arresting her.
Another woman alleges that Officer Pena sexually abused her on June 1, 2019.
She told police that Officer Pena took her into custody near West Lynne Lane and Eleventh Avenue. He was responding to reports of a woman wandering around near Southern Avenue and 27th Avenue. Officer Pena denies sexually abusing this woman as well.
The allegations against Officer Pena are yet to be proven in court. The state must prove all legal elements of the charges for a conviction.
The officer has the right to have the matter tried by a jury of his peers. He is also presumed innocent until he is found guilty in court.
Sadly, some people file sexual assault charges as a way to punish another person or gain the upper hand in divorce or custody cases. Sexual assault charges can be difficult to prove when it is one person’s word against another person. However, sexual assault charges are very serious criminal charges with severe consequences.
Even though it is your word against your accuser’s word, do not assume that the law is on your side. Anyone charged with sexual assault should retain a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences of a conviction for sexual assault can include lengthy prison sentences and significant fines.
A conviction for sexual assault also requires you to register as a sex offender.
When you are a registered sex offender, your freedoms are restricted. Your employment, housing, and travel may be restricted. Being a registered sex offender can make it difficult to find a job.
There are defenses to allegations of sex crimes, such as the consent by the accuser, false allegations, Romeo & Juliet Laws, mistaken identity, and involuntary intoxication.
A criminal defense attorney investigates the allegations against you. After a thorough investigation, a defense attorney develops a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of a positive outcome in your case.
Individuals who have been sexually assaulted by a police officer should report the assault immediately. Police officers hold a position of authority, which can be abused. However, allegations of sexual assault against a law enforcement officer do not dismiss any charges against you.
Any criminal charges against you proceed through the courts regardless of the outcome of a sexual assault charge against the arresting officer or other law enforcement officers.
Therefore, it is wise to talk with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about the charges against you. You need to prepare a defense against those criminal charges while the judicial system handles the sexual assault charges against the police officer.