OIG Report: NOPD detectives mishandled rape, child abuse investigations

OIG Report: NOPD detectives mishandled rape, child abuse investigations

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city's inspector general released a scathing new report Wednesday, detailing widespread problems within the NOPD's sex crimes unit.

The report centers around the work of five detectives over a three year period. What the OIG found is described as 'very disturbing' and his findings prompted an internal investigation as well as the reassignment of all five detectives.

The inspector general's office says from 2011-2013, there were 1,290 calls for service involving a possible sex crime. 840 of those calls were written up as "miscellaneous", meaning no report was written. That's 65 percent of the calls for service where no investigation was done.

450 reports were written, but in 60 percent of those cases, there was no supplemental report.

In three years time, the detectives presented only 105 cases to the DA's office. The OIG says the most disturbing part of the report for him is that in 15 cases, children were involved and the detectives seem to drop the ball.

"There were material aspects from the medical communities and the courts that quite clearly show there's a problem," said Ed Quatrevaux, the New Orleans Inspector General. "Somehow it wasn't picked up by the detectives and the case was closed. Howard Schartz described the case of an injured child who the detective closed the case saying they couldn't see the elements of the crime. But there were young children and there as a forensic interviews that did clearly spell out the abuse and also identified the perpetrator who lived in the house a registered sex offender and that's just sending the kids back for more of the same."

"I'm deeply disturbed by these allegations as I have said. It's our duty to protect and serve. We are going to take that seriously," added Supt. Michael Harrison. "These five detectives may have neglected their duty and even further. As a police department, we will not tolerate it."

Chief Harrison says all five detectives have been re-assigned. They are now working as patrol officers in various districts. PIB is investigating each of them.

Chief Harrison says if it is found that the officers did anything criminal, the NOPD will take action and the officer will immediately be taken off of the street.

Due to ongoing investigations, OIG is not releasing the names of the five detectives in the report. The report states that:

- One detective closed cases of suspected sexual/physical abuse of juveniles despite hospital emergency room evidence, which included skull fractures, sexually transmitted disease in a child under the age of 3, and a registered sex offender sharing a house with an alleged juvenile victim.

- One detective who misreported discovery of DNA evidence, failed to submit a sexual assault kit to the Louisiana State Police DNA Laboratory, and failed to document any attempt to obtain phone records in a case where a victim told the hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner the assailant sent her threatening text messages, stated to at least three individuals that simple rape should not be a crime.

- One detective produced no documentation of any follow-up investigations in three separate cases wherein the Louisiana State Police DNA Laboratory identified DNA evidence.

- Two detectives created a total of six supplemental reports with specific dates from 2010 and 2011 on the same day in 2013, shortly after OIG requested the missing reports from NOPD.

To view the full OIG report, click here: http://bit.ly/1xhtoEm

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