The New York Criminal Law Blog

May 2011 Archives

New York Cops Kenneth Moreno, Franklin Mata Acquitted of Rape

Two New York Police officers accused of participating in the rape of a drunken women they had been called to assist were found not guilty by a New York jury today. NYPD Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, were acquitted of rape, burglary and falsifying business records, but were found guilty on misconduct charges, reports The New York Times. The case created outrage in the City when Moreno was accused of raping the alleged victim while Mata stood guard in 2009.

Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were called to help the woman the press calls a 'fashion executive' who had been drinking heavily at a bar in Brooklyn, writes The Times. The officers admitted, and security tapes shown at trial confirmed, the officers came back at least three times to the woman's apartment that night. Officer Moreno also testified to "cuddling" the woman while she was nearly naked, but said that he wanted to help her. According to testimony, her drinking struck a chord with him as he was himself a recovering alcoholic.

Staten Island Illegal Gambling Ring Busted

Authorities in Staten Island are reporting the bust of a major illegal gambling ring headed up by alleged leader Joseph "J.J." Stentella, 56. The operation is described as a multi-million dollar sports betting operation with ties to New Jersey, Philadelphia and a working online operation out of Costa Rica.

On Tuesday, May 24, over a dozen raids were conducted across three states, reports the New York Daily News. The raids netted 28 arrests and the seizure of millions of dollars worth of assets including real estate in Staten Island, and 14 classic cars worth $100,000 each.

Thirty-year-old "voodoo mom" Marie Lauradin from Queens pleaded guilty to an assault charge for setting her 6-year-old daughter on fire during a demon-casting ritual. According to the New York Daily News, Lauradin pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in Queens Supreme Court before Judge Richard Buchter.

Lauradin admitted she had doused her daughter Frantzcia Santil's head with rum during the voodoo ritual, which was held in her Queens Village home's basement in June 2009. The mother told police officials that the ceremony was aimed at removing the evil spirits that she believed had entered and occupied Santil's body.

The incident left her daughter's body permanent scars and burns to her torso, legs, and face, which covered about a quarter of her body.

Hotel Maid Accuses Dominique Strauss-Kahn Of Sexual Assault

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the 62-year-old French chief of the International Monetary Fund, was recently identified in a police lineup at the NYPD's special victims unit and accused of sexual assault by a hotel maid who claimed he attacked her in a hotel in Manhattan. Police officials took Strauss-Kahn under custody and have brought him to a medical facility for DNA evidence testing.

"Our client willingly consented to a scientific forensic examination," said William Taylor, one of the French chief's attorneys. The New York Daily News reported Strauss-Kahn, who was one of the top nominees in the running for the French presidency, will likely face charges of attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment, and criminal sexual act.

Alleged Hit Man Thomas Gioeli Confesses To Shooting Veronica Zuraw

Alleged Colombo hit man Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, 58, recently admitted to a shooting in January 1982 that killed former nun Veronica Zuraw. The New York Daily News reported that Gioeli, in light of his confession, feared something he felt was worse than likely criminal conviction and prison sentence for his actions.

Eternal damnation.

Gioeli, the alleged former acting head of the Colombo crime family, was adamant that he would "going to hell" for the accidental murder Zuraw, who was formerly known as Sister Mary Adelaide before she left her vocation to become a social worker.

NYPD Cop Kenneth Moreno Faces Sexual Assault And Rape Charges

NYPD Officer Kenneth Moreno, who was accused of sexual assault, admitted to getting in bed with an almost naked Gap executive in December 2008 but denied the allegations that he had raped her. Moreno and Officer Franklin Mata, his partner, said they helped the inebriated Gap exec into her apartment that day, but no rape occurred.

During his testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court, Moreno contended that he only lay in bed with the drunken woman, who was only wearing a pink bra, and spooned her. According to the New York Daily News, Moreno said they were "pretty snuggly" but asserted that he "just held her, she wanted to be held."

Suspects In Queens Home Invasion And Murder Case Still At Large

Thirty-two-year-old Queens resident Thomas Shanis was killed after two armed men broke into his apartment, tied him up, and stabbed him to death. The New York Daily News reported the victim’s elderly mother, Zelda Shanis, witnessed the murder and told law enforcement officials that her son may have owed someone money.

Police said the intruders were armed with guns and knives and dressed in black, although one of men wore a mask over his face. They forced themselves into Shanis’ sixth-floor apartment on Ash Avenue and bound both the son and mother with tape. The two men then stabbed Shanis to death and quickly fled the scene carrying a black duffel bag.

Park Slope Drug Ring Busted, 12 Arrested For Selling Drugs

Law enforcement officials recently apprehended 12 people who were part of the New York drug ring known as the Park Slope drug dealers, whom police said have sold over $70,000 worth of heroin to undercover agents in Brooklyn.

Authorities identified 32-year-old Edwin Perez and two of his closest accomplices, 33-year-old Francisco Perez and 42-year-old Jose Trinidad, as the chief suppliers for the drug ring. The three men and 9 others were arrested and are currently subject to charges of selling drugs and conspiracy, according to the New York Daily Times.