Phoenix pays $ 425,000 to a woman who says a police officer sexually assaulted her

Phoenix City Council on Wednesday approved a $ 425,000 settlement for a woman who says she issexually assaulted in the custody of former Phoenix Police Officer Sean Pena.

In a statement, Dan Wilson, Phoenix communications director, said Pena’s actions “do not represent the high level of integrity and professionalism required of all members of the Phoenix Police Department.”

Krystofer Lee filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix and Pena. ain 2020, claiming that Pena raped her in his police vehicle in 2019 and that the police did not remove him from patrol despite knowing of a previous rape allegation.

Pena is currently on trial in connection with the case.

Former officer Sean Pena is charged with suspected sexual assault

The complaint, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on November 25, stated that Lee was walking “on or about” June 1, 2019 near 23rd Avenue and Vineyard Road when she was approached by Phoenix officers who ” responded to an alleged “welfare” check. ‘”

The officers “ordered” to search Lee’s purse for no probable reason, handcuffed her, and put her in Pena’s police vehicle. Then he drove her to a vacant lot near 11th and South Avenues and molested and raped her, the ad said.

The complaint states that less than a year before Lee’s attack, another woman reported to the department on August 26, 2018 that Pena raped her while she was handcuffed to the back of his patrol car.

A rape kit was performed, but according to a likely cause for this incident, Pena’s DNA was not detected on the smears.

Pena denied the two women’s allegations, it said.

The November 25 complaint also states that a third woman came forward claiming that Pena sexually abused her in August 2019.

Last June, Pena was charged with three crimes – one sexual assault charges and two sexual misconduct charges – fortwo suspicious incidents while he was on duty.

Pena started working for the Phoenix Police Department in July 2017 and was released in July 2020 following the criminal complaints.

Pena is currently facing seven criminal charges involving the three victims – three cases of sexual assault, two cases of sexual abuse and two cases of unlawful sexual behavior by a peace officer.

The November 25 complaint stated that despite learning of Lee’s allegation, Pena was still employed and allowed to patrol the streets as a one-man unit.

The settlement was part of a large motion that included nearly 100 different council items, so there was no individual vote on that particular settlement, Wilson said.

“The Lee case is the tip of the iceberg”

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, an activist and community spokeswoman who often works with victims of police violence, including Lee, said approving the settlement was a “mixed feeling to get some justice for (Lee),” but that she never completely from the attack.

He said the case was a tragedy as Lee was ignored and “treated like she was lying”.

“The Lee case is the tip of the iceberg in terms of sexual assault in the city’s financial liability,” Maupin said, adding that it was good to see victories for the victims, but it was an “awfully expensive lesson for them.” City”. to learn and they haven’t finished paying. “

“We have to believe women in these situations,” he said.

The next trial for Pena will be on Thursday, June 3, at 9 a.m.

Republican reporter BrieAnna J. Frank contributed to this story.

Reach current reporter Olivia Munson at [email protected] or on Twitter @munson_olivia.

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