Court upholds sentence for ex-NYC cop's off-duty sex assault

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state's top court has upheld a 75-year-to-life prison sentence against a former New York City police officer who admitted grabbing a schoolteacher off the street and raping her.

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected a claim by Michael Pena that the long sentence violated his constitutional rights, affirming a decision from a mid-level appeals court.

Pena confronted the 25-year-old teacher on an Upper Manhattan street while off duty in August 2011. According to court records, he forced the woman into an apartment building courtyard, raped her at gunpoint and threatened to shoot her in the face if she resisted.

Pena, now 32, argued the harsh sentence amounted to "cruel and unusual" punishment. But the top court, in a 6-0 decision, said that argument should have originated before the sentencing court.