The detectives of the special victims unit in New Orleans are apparently not as dedicated as their fictional counterparts, as five of the nine detectives in the unit have been charged with ignoring reported sex crimes. To add insult to injury, many of the sex crimes were committed against children.
CNN reported that a three-year investigation conducted by Office of Inspector General in New Orleans, which is in charge of keeping the New Orleans’ city governmental departments accountable for their actions, found over 1,000 reported sex crimes had been swept aside. Even cases in which there was evidence that a crime had been committed were ignored.
In one such case, the New York Times reported SVU in New Orleans were contacted regarding a 2-year-old who had been taken to the emergency room because it was suspected the child had been the victim of a sexual assault. An examination showed the suspicions were founded, as the young child had contracted a sexual transmitted disease. Rather than conduct a proper investigation, detectives didn’t look into the crime and closed the case.
The report released by the OIG’s office said that detectives ignored allegations of sexual assaults, evidence was not processed, and referrals from medical personnel were dismissed by the police in New Orleans. Detectives also falsified reports, saying they had sent evidence to the state’s laboratory to be processed in some cases, but records indicated nothing had been received by the laboratory for those cases.
The report, written by inspector general Edouard R. Quatrevaux, revealed that of 1,290 “calls for service” to the New Orleans Police Department’s SVU during 2011 to 2013, 840 of them were written off as “miscellaneous,” and no follow-up investigations were done. There was no documentation found at all for 271 calls of the 450 that lead to the initial OIG report
Quatrevaux said the SVU detectives in New Orleans that were found to be negligent in their duties were not rookies, but seasoned veterans of the unit. In fact, most of them had over 16 years of experience within the department.
“These people should have known… the right way to do things,” he said.
According to the report, the investigation found that the detectives had regularly been unsupervised on the job.
“[T]here was no effective supervision of these five detectives over a three-year period. Nor could there have been any effective supervision of the supervisors, or any review of the outcome of the cases assigned to these five detectives.”
Allegations against the police in New Orleans are not new. As Time reported, the New Orleans police department is under federal court supervision after a pattern of inefficient, abusive, and corrupt police work was uncovered.
The United States Department of Justice investigated the police in New Orleans during 2010 to 2011, and found that the department discouraged victims of sex crimes from pursuing charges, and many rapes were reclassified as “miscellaneous,” which meant “shutting down investigation(s) for a significant proportion of possible sex crimes.”
This pattern of being dismissive toward sex crimes may be more widespread because, as the Inquisitr reported, rape victims in Louisiana are being asked to pay for visits to the hospital. The five detectives and some supervisors in New Orleans have been removed from SVU and reassigned to other departments for now.
[Image via Vancouver Sun]