Ex-Phoenix Police officer found not guilty of sexual assault; jury was hung on 5 of the counts

An ex-Phoenix Police officer has been found not guilty on a number of sexual assault charges that were filed against him.

The trial for Sean Pena began on April 27. Pena was fired in 2020 after allegations of sexual assault came to light, and in 2021, the City of Phoenix settled with one of the alleged victims when the Phoenix City Council approved a $425,000 settlement with one of the alleged victims.

The jury assembled for the trial acquitted Pena of two counts of sexual assault, but they could not reach a decision on the other five charges.

Pena accused of sexually assaulting women while they were in custody 

According to court documents, the former police officer is accused of sexually assaulting the first alleged victim while she was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car in August 2018. The second alleged incident happened in June 2019 when another woman claimed Pena sexually abused her. Then, a third woman came forward alleging Pena sexually assaulted her in August 2019.

"Sean became a cop to help people something, he wanted to do for a long time. He didn’t become a cop to prey on women," said his attorney, Jess Lorona.

One of the alleged victims took the stand on April 27, saying she had initially called the police during a family dispute, and Pena responded to the call.

He took down the report and left, but later that night, when she was walking home from the store, she heard Pena call her name. She walked over to his squad car where she claims he grabbed her hand and placed it on him. She pulled away and left, but says Pena continued to call her that evening and told her to meet him in an empty lot in south Phoenix.

"I didn’t want to have any interaction with him at all. When I went to the field, I was scared because I didn’t, like, how can you call the cops on the cops?," she said. "I didn’t want to die in a freaking field. I’m scared. What am I supposed to do?"

When she arrived, she says Pena sexually assaulted her in the back of his patrol car. She didn't tell the police until the following summer, so her clothing was never taken as evidence.

Lorona says, "That the dress was never examined, it was never provided to the police, it was never examined at all from any DNA evidence at all, so what does that mean? It means there is no physical evidence at all, in this case, proving that Sean Pena did anything at all. There are no witnesses at all to this incident."

Pena has denied the allegations.

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