Sex assault victims blast NYPD’s troubled Special Victims Division

·3 min read

Three women who say they were victims of sexual assaults testified Monday they were victimized a second time by inept detectives in the NYPD’s Special Victims Division.

One said cops might have caught her rapist had they taken the basic step of retrieving critical video evidence from a bar. Another said she was tricked into signing a form closing out her case — without an arrest. And a third said she identified her attacker with a simple Facebook search, something police failed to do.

The women’s testimony before the City Council were given remotely, but still made an obvious emotional impact. City Council members reacted with astonishment and outrage at their remarks.

The first speaker, a woman identified only as Christine, said the investigation of the man who raped her was botched from the start. Detectives didn’t pull potentially significant video from a bar, , didn’t test her hair for drugs and didn’t pay attention to other critical information, including a blueprint of the suspect’s apartment, which she compiled in a 13-page document.

“To see the values of courtesy, professionalism and respect on every NYPD police car,” she said, “is an insult to my experience.”

Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said it was troubling Christine had to be her own detective.

“That is extremely unacceptable,” Adams said. “And it’s appalling to me.”

Dep. Insp. Michael King, who has run the Special Victims Division since August 2020, says he is determined to right the wrongs in a unit that has been under fire since the city Department of Investigation ripped the unit in 2018 as understaffed and dismissive of victims attacked by acquaintances. The audit also said some SVD detectives discouraged rape victims from cooperating and moved to close cases without full investigations.

King said that he has transferred at least 12 investigators out of the unit and disciplined others “for bad behavior or bad case management.” He also said investigators are now required to update their case files every five days and update victims every 21 days.

“Your testimony does not fall on deaf ears,” he said after one woman’s testimony. “Since I have been the commander here let me say I have spread the word throughout the division that laziness and callousness will not be accepted here.”

But advocates said they still hear too often from sex assaults victims about uncaring detectives not committed to a thorough investigation.

Leslie McFadden testified she was drugged and raped by a co-worker six years ago.

“My experience with the NYPD, however, was far worse,” she said. “The very first question [the detective] asked me at the start of the interview was whether this was really a case of sexual assault — or just a case of regret.”

Later in the case, she said, the same investigator, Det. Scott Granai, convinced her to sign paperwork “that would put the case on hold pending a drug test.”

She later learned he had closed out the investigation after getting her signature. She filed a formal complaint that led to his transfer last year.

“Granai lied to me,” she testified. “The NYPD never held him accountable — I did.”

Granai did not respond to a request for comment.

Another victim, who used only her first name Meghan, was just 20 when a stranger raped her in a Brooklyn park early Halloween morning in 2015. He followed her home after the attack, she said, and pressured her for her phone number. She relented, she said, so he would leave her alone.

She soon was contacted by her alleged attacker, giving cops a key piece of evidence. But once she told cops she was too traumatized to participate in a “controlled call” with police listening in, they didn’t pursue the case, she said.

It took her 10 minutes to identify her attacker on Facebook by using his phone number, she said.

“I identified my own rapist, which is something the NYPD could not or would not do for me,” Meghan said.

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