As a result of a 12-page letter that rape survivors and their advocates sent to the Justice Department in July, 2021 that condemned the NYPD’s handling of sex crimes, federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into the department, which could be forced to adopt changes supervised by a federal monitor, the New York Times reports. The NYPD’s response to the 8,600 sex crimes reported each year has been “negligent and sexist,” violating the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, the letter writers argued.
For example, one survivor who was attacked in 2012 said a Special Victims detective told her she was wasting his time with an “iffy rape case,” while others described how their cases were assigned to officers who didn’t seem to care about or know how to investigate them. Victims said investigators pressured them to sign forms that prematurely closed cases. Researchers from the firm RTI International found that more than half of sexual assault cases were closed for lack of evidence, despite suspects having been identified in more than 80 percent of reports.