Ex-Phoenix Police officer speaks out after being found not guilty of sexual misconduct while on duty

A police officer who was accused of committing sex crimes while on duty is talking about what comes next.

We first reported on the accusations made against Sean Pena in June of 2020. At the time, officials with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said they are filing criminal charges against Pena, along with a Mesa Police officer, in connection with the misconducts.

At the time, Pena was accused of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, with the alleged incidents having taken place in 2018 and 2019. In the 2018 alleged incident, Pena is accused of sexually assaulting a woman, while she was handcuffed, in the back of his patrol vehicle. Pena, according to the documents, denied the allegations, and stated that the woman offered him oral sex if he would release her. 

In the second alleged incident that took place in 2019, police say Pena was responding to a welfare check near 27th and Southern Avenues where a woman was wandering around in the area. She was taken into custody and taken to another location. After she was released from custody, documents show she told police she was sexually abused by Pena. Pena also denied allegations stemming from this incident.

A third woman, according to reports, also came forward, alleging that Pena sexually assaulted her in August 2019. 

The first trial for Pena, who was fired by Phoenix Police in July 2020, began in April 2022. That trial ended with a not guilty verdict. The jury was hung on charges related to two other victims.

After the first trial, prosecutors with MCAO decided to take the case back to trial again, and on Aug. 15, Pena was found not guilty, by a second jury, on the remaining charges.

Pena "relieved and grateful"

Months after he was found not guilty, Pena, 26, said his side of the story was told, and won over the jury.

"There's been a lot of emotions going through my mind," said Pena. "My whole family was affected by this. You know, they talk to you about the five stages of grief a lot, in school or even in the academy. I definitely went through a lot of those."

He said the case has taken its toll on his life, but he is going to take each day as it comes, from here on out.

"These women, I'm not really angry at them," said Pena. "I knew, mainly with me getting on the stand, I just had to tell my story and tell the truth."

Pena also said he does not agree with the way MCAO handled the case.

"I don't see how this case should have been brought in the first place," said Pena. "The first victim was clearly vetted, clearly investigated, and the case was dropped. It was not prosecuted."

As for what's next, Pena said he and his lawyers will be appealing his firing from the Phoenix Police force.  He and his lawyers are still deciding if they want to take any further legal action.

For now, however, Pena says he will be focusing on his small custom furniture manufacturing plant in Queen Creek.

We have reached out to officials with MCAO for comment, but we have yet to hear back.