A week after a jury acquitted New York City police officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata over charges that Moreno had raped a drunk woman while Mata stood guard, their accuser released a statement describing herself as "devastated and disappointed by the jury's decision." The fashion executive, who lived in the East Village but has since moved to San Francisco, thanks the District Attorney's office and Mayor Bloomberg, saying she's "overwhelmed" by the support she's been shown since the verdict, and that "public opinion will be the ultimate verdict." Here's the full statement:
I know that in a criminal trial a verdict of not guilty does not necessarily mean the defendants were found innocent, but I am devastated and disappointed by the jury's decision.
I have waited two and half years for closure that will now never come. Hearing that verdict brought me to my knees; it brought me back to my bedroom on that awful night when my world was turned upside down by the actions of two police officers who were sent there to protect, but instead took advantage of their authority and broke the law.
Everything they say about the difficulties of a rape trial is sadly true. One's word is not enough in these days of CSI and DNA. Even if people believe you, you are tested beyond what any crime victim should have to endure.
While on the witness stand, the defense attorneys seek to shame and humiliate you for hours, even days, with deeply personal questions about your body, your intimate life and your social life simply because you dare to come forward. How saddening, how utterly disheartening.
I want people to know I take great comfort and express my thanks in the swift action from Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to fire Misters Moreno and Mata from service immediately following the verdict. Thank you both for making such a strong statement that this City will not tolerate criminal actions by its police officers.
Not a single officer in uniform sat behind the defendants when I testified. That speaks volumes. I know there are thousands of real and good New York City police officers who would have acted very differently that night.
I want to especially thank Coleen Balbert, Edward Tacchi, Randolph Clarke, Dianne Spence and the entire District Attorney's Office. I cry as I write this because I know they are hurting just like me, and because I know that beyond just doing their jobs, they are real people who care.
I have spent countless hours over two and half years with these people and I am blown away by their dedication to fight for truth and justice. Before the jury went into deliberation, I told Coleen this has been personal for me, and their endless efforts to help me has meant the world. And even after this shocking ending, I mean that still, I will love them forever.
When Ed told me after the verdict, "I am saddened for this injustice, and so sorry to you for this failure," I lost it. My heart broke. What I can only say about Ed, Randolph and Coleen is that they did the best for me, they are the best to me, and to so many others they have touched. What sets them apart, makes them best-in-class, is their heart.
They gave me a voice after a night when I had none.
To my friends and family, you are the silver lining of this, you keep me going. I am also so amazed and touched by the thousands of people who have expressed their outrage at what happened to me.
How amazing are the people of New York City, and all over the country, to speak up in my honor. Thank you so much. I am overwhelmed by your support. I want you to know that if I could I would shake your hand, I would hug you, and I hear you. For me, public opinion will be the ultimate verdict.