PHOENIX — The sex crimes trial against a former Phoenix Police officer began Wednesday with testimony from one of three alleged victims.
The women all accuse Sean Pena of sexually assaulting them in his police cruiser while he was on patrol in south Phoenix.
The allegations date back to 2018 and 2019. Pena was allowed to return to patrol after his first accuser reported him. He was fired from the force in 2020.
One of the women was the first witness to take the stand Wednesday. ABC15 is not identifying her by name and is not showing video of her since she is an alleged sexual assault victim.
She said Pena and other officers came to her house in August 2019 on a call for service. She said later that day, Pena was parked near her home, called her over to his vehicle, and forced her to touch his genitals. The woman said Pena called on the phone a short time later and told her to come to an empty lot. She said the then-officer pinned her inside the door of his car and sexually assaulted her.
“I didn't want to die in a freaking field,” the woman told the jury. “I am scared. What am I supposed to do?”
Pena’s attorney, Jess Lorona, said the women all have credibility issues, and he said some were motivated by financial gain. The city settled civil rights lawsuits by two of the women for $425,000 each.
Lorona said there were no witnesses to any of the alleged crimes. He also made reference to one of the alleged victim’s drug use and another alleged victim’s criminal history.
Trial resumes next week with testimony from the other alleged victims, investigators, and some officers who worked with Pena.