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NYPD Downgrades Rapes, Resulting In Repeat Offenders

NYPD Downgrades Rapes, Resulting In Repeat Offenders

More and more NYPD police officers and detectives have come forward in response to some disturbing allegations: sexual assaults were downgraded to misdemeanors, to the point where one man committed six sexual assaults before he was finally captured.  The victims’ complaints in the past cases had been classified as criminal trespassing, so the reports never reached a higher level, and were thus never declared a pattern.

The words of the rapist, Daryl Thomas, are shockingly brazen, when asked whether he was ever afraid that he’d be caught.  He said to Detective Harold Hernandez, one of the NYPD members who has spoken out about this issue, “Nah. I looked around, I never saw any cops.”  A Manhattan jury later convicted Thomas in five cases of first-degree attempted rape, robbery, burglary, and sexual assault charges.

Hernandez says that no one was ever disciplined in the misclassified assaults.  And this seems to be part of a pattern – the NYPD may have a policy of refusing to take robbery complaints from victims, and attempted rapes have been downgraded to “forcible touching.”  All of these are documented in an extensive web series by the Village Voice, and indicate a serious tendency on the part of the NYPD to neglect crimes for which they were not present, and to disbelieve women when they say they have been raped.  Elements were eliminated in police reports that would have made it clear that sexual assault had taken place, so that officers and detectives did not have the information that they needed to catch the rapists – who, like Thomas, were free to repeat their terrible offenses.

Much of it seems to have been a numbers game – precinct commanders are held responsible for crime in their areas, so if crimes are downgraded, the stats look better.  But I think it’s not a coincidence that many of the crimes that were changed are sexual assaults, simply because our culture is already used to disbelieving women who claim they have been raped.  I hope that the investigation being conducted by the Voice can shed more light on this, but in the meantime, it’s disturbing to realize, once again, that the people who are supposed to be protecting us may be doing a pretty terrible job.

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196 comments

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8:01PM PDT on Aug 30, 2010

Sexual offenders need to be punished much harder!

9:10AM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

It would be interesting to see what the demographic patterns were for victims whose complaints were downgraded. Any bets that wealthy white males did not top the list? Not to suggest anyone deserves to be preyed upon, but law enforcement does often seem to prioritize based on factors other than severity of crime.

7:40PM PDT on Jul 17, 2010

This is truly amazing! Have any of these men ever had a wife, girlfriend, daughter or other loved one who was raped. I cannot imagine if they had, that this horrendous crime would have ever been downgraded. If anything, there should be stricter sentences for rapists!

5:12PM PDT on Jul 16, 2010

This isn't the best way to move into the future...
Please help out these women and sign this petition, we all need to live in a world without domestic violence and a world where everyone has human rights!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/women39s-rights-in-saudi-arabia

3:43PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Again , the law fails the people and look who pays.

3:38PM PDT on Jul 8, 2010

It's true. It's all about numbers. My husband is in the NYPD. They downgrade crimes to make their statistics better.

9:48AM PDT on Jul 8, 2010

Women will never get men to treat them with respect until we learn to respect each other. A woman's harshest critic is other women and that needs to change. Browsing through a celebrity magazine tells me that its women who have become obsessed with treating women like objects. Every eye bag or bit of cellulite is highlighted so we can all have a good laugh at the expense of other women while secretly worrying about how we can maintain the impossibly high standards we expect of other women. No wonder women are so unhappy. We may be able to go out to work but we are no more free than we were fifty years ago. We are still trapped in a specific gender role as housewives and mothers with the added pressure that we have to have careers as well. The difference is that this is a situation of our own making. We need to stop poking fun at other women and coming out with crap like "she was asking for it" and support each other.

5:09AM PDT on Jul 7, 2010

The wrong way to go forward.

4:55AM PDT on Jul 7, 2010

As they say, "poop rolls downhill". In this story, the police are getting the blame for downgrading these serious crimes. The question remains, "who ordered it?"

10:23PM PDT on Jul 6, 2010

This henious act causes emotional death to most women and some men. how can they do this?? how dare they downgrade an absolute violation and of ones dignity never the less ones body!! Out raged!!

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