One Woman Tells Us What It’s Like To Be Raped And Have Your Town Turn Against You, 21 Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Sexual Assault, Five NOPD detectives mishandled rape, child abuse investigations

November 13, 2014 Comments Off on One Woman Tells Us What It’s Like To Be Raped And Have Your Town Turn Against You, 21 Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Sexual Assault, Five NOPD detectives mishandled rape, child abuse investigations

 

One Woman Tells Us What It’s Like To Be Raped — And Have Your Town Turn Against You
‘There were flyers at school, kids wore T-shirts in his honor and even brought huge signs to his court appearances supporting him.’
by MTV News Staff  11/11/2014

Sixty percent of rapes go unreported to the police. But what’s it like to be part of that other 40% — and then have your community and friends turn against you? Emma Hanrahan knows only too well — and today she’s coming forward to share her story of pain and survival with MTV News, in the hopes that it will encourage that 60% to break the silence….

By Emma Hanrahan

….Almost immediately after entering the room I was pushed on the bed, and all of a sudden it went from being fun to being completely terrifying. I was dizzy and confused. Paris was on top of me. I said, “Slow down, I don’t want to do this. I want to go home.”

The moment they ignored me and kept going was the moment I knew exactly what was about to happen. One of the other guys was standing right by my head and I remember looking up and seeing the third guy standing at the door, almost like he was keeping watch.

Was this planned? How did everything fall into place so quickly? All of a sudden my pants were ripped right off me and Paris immediately started having sex with me. I was crying “No” over and over again.

….It was hard for me. I found peace many nights at the bottom of a cheap bottle of wine. My confusion and loss of self consumed me, while flashbacks and nightmares became a ritual in my already messed-up schedule. I had uncontrollable panic attacks that caused me to rarely leave the house. I spent many long days in my room not talking to many people at all.

The rape kit result came back and DNA was found, enough to at least make an arrest on Paris in the winter. Despite changing his statements drastically a few times, though, he gained the support from a majority of the school — and town for that matter. The school didn’t feel it was necessary to remove Paris or the other guys from their classes — even after the arrest. I couldn’t bear the thought of attending class every day sitting next to the guys that raped me, that broke me, that took everything from me, so I withdrew from school after only a couple of weeks.

….In the meantime, the town started taking sides — everyone did. These guys were star athletes — basketball players — and it seemed like everyone supported them. It didn’t take long for the blame to be put on me. The basketball coach even confronted me at a game once with his players in tow — including two of my attackers — and as a result I was thrown out of the game. And banned from campus.

People I thought were my friends dropped me in a second to jump on the “FREE PARIS” bandwagon — including some of my former roommates. There were flyers at school, kids wore T-shirts in his honor and even brought huge signs to his court appearances supporting him.

It drew attention from the local newspaper and radio stations, and people even wrote letters to the editor voicing their support for this man who took my entire life from me. Everywhere I turned “FREE PARIS” punched me right in the gut. I received threatening text messages from players and people I didn’t even know. I was harassed walking down the street; there are still blogs about me on the Internet created by students just to say awful and hateful things about me.

That’s the issue with how society as a whole thinks about sexual assault: They blame the victim. They blamed me. I was at a party. I was drinking. I was wearing a tank top. I was asking for it. Hearing those things over and over again –- you start to believe them. So many people told me that I was a slut. That I wanted it. It was really hard to not feel that way. I think that that just confirms that how people think of sexual assault and how they treat victims of a crime is backwards. We need to stop blaming the victims and start blaming their attackers.

….I got to the point where I was in such a dark place with my memories and my community’s nastiness that I had to try to put the whole thing behind me. I offered “Paris” a plea and he took it, and because he was arrested he lost his visa and was sent back home and not allowed to return. The other two guys were never arrested; “Paris” claimed they were never even with us.

….The harassment continued for years, despite letting Paris off easy. The next few years went by filled with unbearable pain and emptiness all at the same time. The only thing that helped me pull myself out of that place was talking to people in the same situation as me. I hooked up with the RAINN organization. I read other people’s stories — people who had gone through what I had and come out on the other side OK. People who told me that there was a life past everything I was enduring then.

….One of the reasons that I stopped feeling the way that I did was because I ran across another girl at college a few years later that was going through what I went through. I told her my story and about how I was better then than I had been before and that made her feel better. And it made me feel better that she felt better. Helping other people and guiding them –- that was the only way that I felt better.

What happened to me may have changed me, but who I am today is someone I am proud to be. I WAS a victim — now I’m a survivor, a mother, a fighter and an inspiration. I am strong.
http://www.mtv.com/news/1962056/rape-what-it-feels-like-no-one-believes/

21 Facts That Will Change The Way You Think About Sexual Assault

Join MTV and the White House in a new campaign to prevent sexual assault: ‘It’s On Us.’
by Brenna Ehrlich  9/19/2014

1. 1 out of every 6 American women has been either raped or almost raped in her lifetime.

2. 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is sexually assaulted in college — most during their freshman or sophomore year, according to It’s On Us.

3. In 2006, 300,000 college women were raped. That’s 5.2%.

4. 3% of U.S. men have either been raped or almost raped.

5. 80% of rape and sexual assault victims are under 30….

10. An American is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes….

17. Survivors can suffer from PTSD, substance abuse, sleep disorders, self-harm, eating disorders, depression and a host of other issues.

18. Survivors are 26 times more likely to take drugs….

20. 60% of sexual assaults go unreported and only 12 percent of college women report their attackers to the police.

21. Only 3% of rapists will ever go to prison.
http://www.mtv.com/news/1935098/its-on-us-sexual-assault-facts/

Police handling of child abuse intelligence to be investigated
12 November 2014
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will examine how Essex, North Wales and North Yorkshire handled information from Canadian police passed to the UK in 2012.

Around 2,000 names were sent by Toronto Police to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

The three forces referred themselves to the IPCC for investigation….

BBC News obtained figures in October suggesting many forces had at that time only arrested around a third of the names among the Canadian intelligence….
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30027045

Five NOPD detectives mishandled rape, child abuse investigations, inspector general finds
By  Naomi Martin, NOLA.com  The Times-Picayune
November 12, 2014

Five NOPD detectives have been transferred to street patrol and are under internal investigation after the city’s inspector general found they systematically failed to investigate and document allegations of sexual assault and child abuse.

The detectives wrote no investigative reports for 86 percent of the 1,290 sexual-assault or child-abuse calls they were collectively assigned to investigate from 2011 through 2013, according to the report released Wednesday. Two of their supervisors also were transferred and remain under investigation.

….In 65 percent of the cases reviewed, detectives submitted no initial incident reports — a basic summary of allegations — because the detectives classified those calls as “miscellaneous” incidents that did not merit any documentation at all.

“For 65 percent of their work for three years, no one can evaluate that,” said the inspector general’s lead investigator Howard Schwartz. “There is no record. Other than making it a 21 (miscellaneous).”

In 60 percent of the 450 cases reviewed, there was no supplemental report, a key record used by the department and prosecutors documenting investigative findings. Only 105 complaints became cases that were presented to the district attorney’s office. Of those, 74 cases were prosecuted, but only after the district attorney’s office conducted its own investigations, seeking medical records and interviewing witnesses and victims.

“The district attorney’s office should be commended for this,” Schwartz said.

The five detectives — Akron Davis, Merrill Merricks, Derrick Williams, Damita Williams and Vernon Haynes — represented the majority of the Special Victims Section, which had between eight and nine detectives throughout the three-year period.

….The inspector general’s office notified the NOPD on Oct. 3 that 13 children could be in danger in their homes after finding reports of physical and sexual abuse that apparently failed to get proper investigation. The department said it has made sure all are now safe by removing them from their homes or contacting child protective services, or both.

As of Oct. 3, NOPD had 53 outstanding DNA matches — notified in letters from the State Police crime lab since July 2010 — that they had not followed up on to start the process of finding potential rapists, the report says.

….The report alleges a culture of indifference.

Damita Williams told at least three different people that she “did not believe simple rape should be a crime,” the report says. Simple rape, under state law, is sex without the victim’s consent when the victim is intoxicated or incapacitated, and the offender should have known.

She was assigned 11 simple rape cases over the course of three years; only one was presented to the district attorney’s office.

In one case, she wrote that no DNA evidence was recovered. But State Police lab records showed that DNA evidence had in fact been found in that case.

In a separate case in which a victim reported her attacker was sending her threatening texts, Williams never documented any attempt to obtain phone records or the text messages. She never sent the victim’s rape kit to the crime lab for testing and in a log book, wrote that she “would not submit the kit to the DNA lab because the sex was consensual.”

Derrick Williams, who was the lead investigator on the case involving former New Orleans Saints football player Darren Sharper, submitted no supplemental reports on two rape cases in which nurses collected evidence and documented the accusers’ injuries.

In one case, State Police’s DNA lab found a possible match more than two years ago, but Williams had not submitted a sample to confirm it. In the other, State Police notified Williams that an incorrect kit had been sent in, and he had not responded.

Williams created two supplemental reports on the same day in 2013 after the inspector general’s office requested them — he dated one in 2011 and the other in 2010, the report says.

Vernon Haynes never documented any investigation into three cases in which the State Police crime lab found DNA evidence, the report says. He also had two cases that were lacking files in the office.

In one case, a victim reported she was raped and her iPhone was stolen; Haynes never documented any effort to track her phone or obtain phone records.

Merrill Merricks wrote in a report that he sent a rape kit to the State Police crime lab but they found no results. But the inspector general’s office reviewed State Police lab records and found the kit was never submitted. The kit had never actually moved from NOPD’s evidence room.

Merricks created four supplemental reports on the same day in 2013 after the inspector general’s office requested them — he dated three in 2011 and the other in 2010, the report says.

Akron Davis was assigned 13 cases of potential sexual/physical abuse involving children in which the juvenile victims potentially were still in the same home where the alleged abuse occurred. Of those 13, 11 lacked a supplemental report. Cases in which infants were hospitalized for skull fractures, a toddler tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease and a young child complained of sexual abuse at the hands of a registered sex offender were among those identified by the New Orleans Inspector General’s office as failing to get proper investigations….
http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2014/11/nopd_sex_crimes_problems.html

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