Trial begins for former Phoenix police officer accused of sexual assault

One of the alleged victims testified on Wednesday in the trial of a former Phoenix police officer accused of sexually assaulting three women in his patrol car.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 9:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The trial for a former Phoenix police officer accused of sexually assaulting three women in his patrol car over a two-year span began today. Sean Pena was put back on patrol after the first victim came forward in 2018, before ultimately being fired following criminal charges in 2020.

Day one of this trial included opening statements from the prosecution and the defense. One of the sexual assault victims also testified about what she says happened to her in August of 2019, as Pena sat in the courtroom just a few feet away.

“How do you call the police, on the police?” the victim asked, powerful words coming from one of three women allegedly sexually assaulted by Sean Pena. “Scared, because I don’t trust the police,” she said.

This woman, whom the judge asked us not to identify, says that Pena sexually assaulted her after shouting her name from his patrol car as she returned from the grocery store in August of 2019. “He grabs my hand, and places it on his exposed penis,” she said. “I jerk my hand back, scared, wondering why he did he just do this?”

According to a November 2020 Maricopa County Superior Court complaint, the first woman who accused Pena of sexual assault did so in August 2018. She told the court he raped her as she was handcuffed in the back of his patrol car.

The second woman, Krystofer Lee, says she was sexually assaulted in June of 2019. Two years later, Phoenix City Council approved a $425,000 settlement related to Lee’s case.

Pena’s attorney says money could be a factor for multiple witnesses moving forward. “Some of the witnesses in this case are motivated by financial gain,” he said. He also questioned the credibility of multiple victims. “You’re going to hear testimony that Ms. Lee changed her story,” he added.

And Pena’s attorney asked the victim testifying today why she went up to Pena’s patrol car if she was scared of the police. “You actually were approaching officer Pena because you thought he was still investigating the crime? Correct?” he asked. “Yes,” the victim responded. “And he called my name over there. So what choice, really, do I have?”

Pena currently faces seven felony charges. Three counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual abuse, and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer. More alleged victims will testify in the coming week, as will other Phoenix police officers and detectives involved in the investigation.