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Jury returns verdict in Phoenix ex-cop's sex crimes trial

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 22:06:08-04

PHOENIX — A former Phoenix police officer, accused of sex crimes on the job, remains free after a jury acquitted him on some charges and could not reach a verdict on others.

Three women accused Sean Pena of forcing them to perform sex acts in separate incidents in his patrol car. The allegations stem from 2018 and 2019 when Pena was a patrol officer in south Phoenix. Pena, 26, was fired from the police department and criminally charged in 2020.

Pena faced seven felony counts, including sex assault, sex abuse, and unlawful sexual conduct by a peace officer.

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"It was life-changing for him, and he started crying when the verdict came down," said Jess Lorona, Pena's defense attorney.

Thursday afternoon, a jury found Pena not guilty of two counts. Both were alleged crimes against Krystofer Lee. She was the only alleged victim to go public with her story.

The jury was hung on five other criminal counts.

Lorona said he believe the jury's decisions were influenced by the credibility of Pena compared to the alleged victims. During opening statements, Lorona said all three women had legal or financial motivations to make these accusations against an officer who wanted to help people and was good at his job.

Because the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, the prosecutor in the case may ask for a new trial only on those charges. A court hearing to discuss the future of the case is scheduled for June.