According to the New York Times, two NYPD detectives have pleaded guilty to bribery and abuse of power charges, and will receive five years' probation as part of a plea deal in a sexual assault case stemming from an incident in 2017.
The detectives, Edward Martins and Richard Hall, arrested an 18-year-old woman in 2017 for possession of a small amount of marijuana. What happened next remains the subject of factual dispute.
The woman, whose real name has not been released to the media but has sued the city under the pseudonym "Anna Chambers," claimed that the officers physically restrained her and forcibly sexually assaulted her. Investigators found DNA evidence to corroborate Chambers' claim that the officers had sex with her.
The officers were originally charged with rape and faced a potential prison sentence of 40 years. They quit the force in November 2017.
However, attorneys for the officers claimed that, rather than a forcible rape, the woman had consensual sex with the officers in exchange for being released from custody. The officers admitted that they took turns having sex with the woman in the back of a police van as they drove her around New York City, but claimed that the sexual encounter was Chambers' idea, and that she offered to have sex with the officers if they released her without reporting the arrest.
Ultimately, prosecutors found a number of inconsistencies in Chambers' story, which led to the rape charges being dropped in March 2019.
In response to the incident, the New York Legislature passed a law making it illegal for police officers to have sex with suspects who are in custody, but the law could not be applied retroactively to Martins and Hall.
Prosecutors indicted Martins, 39, and Hall, 34, on lesser felony charges of receiving a bribe and misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, and intended to proceed to trial, which was set to begin Sept. 9.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys had reached an impasse in negotiating a plea deal, until Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on Thursday agreed to accept a no-jail-time plea deal from the defendants, over the objections of prosecutors, who had argued for a one-to-three year jail sentence. Had they gone to trial and been convicted, they would have faced up to seven years in prison.
In explaining his decision to accept the plea deal, Chun pointed to the history of the case, and stated his belief that he did not believe a jury would have convicted the former officers of the felony bribe receiving charges.
Attorneys for Chambers joined prosecutors in objecting to the no-jail-time sentence. Chambers has consistently insisted that she was, in fact, forcibly raped, and has stated that the inconsistencies in her story are common with rape victims who have gone through a traumatic experience.
Chambers' attorney, Michael David, told WABC-TV, "This is outrageous that they can rape my client and not serve any jail time."