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Jury finds Phoenix officer accused of sexual assault not guilty on 2 counts; deadlock on other charges

Sean Pena in court in April.
Sean Pena in court in April.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:09 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A Phoenix police officer accused of sexually assaulting three women in his patrol car had a partial victory in court on Thursday. A jury found Sean Pena not guilty on one count of sexual assault and one count of unlawful sexual conduct by a police officer. The jury was deadlocked on the other five counts, which included sexual abuse and sexual assault.

The first incident happened in August 2018, when a woman claimed Pena forced her to have sex in the back of his patrol car following an arrest at a city park. The second incident happened in June 2019, when the alleged victim said Pena inappropriately touched her after he released her from his custody in connection with a welfare call. Phoenix’s City Council approved a $425,000 settlement released to that case. In August 2019, a woman claimed Pena sexually assaulted her after shouting her name from his patrol car as she returned from the grocery store.

The trial started about three weeks ago, with testimony from witnesses and detectives. Pena’s lawyers claimed witnesses came forward because of money. In the end, a jury didn’t convict. Since it was a hung jury on five of the seven counts, prosecutors could retry him on those charges. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told Arizona’s Family no decision has been made yet.