‘Faulty assumptions’ in sexual assaults probe


An independent review sustained many of Lanier’s criticisms of the Human Rights Watch report. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Six months ago, the distinguished international organization Human Rights Watch issued a scathing report, “Capital Offense,” accusing D.C. police of routinely failing to investigate sexual assault allegations. In some cases, the report said, police “re-victimized survivors by treating them callously and skeptically, discouraged sexual assault survivors from reporting their assault or getting a forensic exam, and in some instances threatened them with prosecution for false reporting.” Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier pushed back strongly on the group’s findings, leading D.C. Council member Tommy Wells to recruit the law firm Crowell & Moring to undertake an independent review. The lawyers’ investigation, the Post’s Peter Hermann reports, has concluded that Human Rights Watch did highlight ways police can improve how they deal with victims of sexual crimes. But the group’s report “made faulty assumptions and used incomplete data” in making its broader accusations of systemic dysfunction, the lawyers found. Their report is the subject of a council hearing today, but it appears Lanier is, in large measure, vindicated. “I feel assured of the police department’s ability to respond to sexual assaults,” Wells said.

In other news:

Ex-boxer Keely Thompson gives up fight, pleads guilty to defrauding city of grant funds (PostLoose LipsWTTG-TVWRC-TVAP)

Living-wage bill, focused again on Wal-Mart, passes first-reading vote (PostWBJHousing ComplexDCist)

With 2014 budget passed, D.C. will have region’s lowest sales tax (WBJWaTimes)

Ron Machen’s community conversations focus on two topics: “violent crime and crooked politicians” (Post)

How the federal corruption investigation is like an “unrepaired leaky faucet” (WRC-TV)

The city’s appointed attorneys general ponder the future elected attorneys general (Legal Times)

A bear was loose in the Palisades (Post)

When it comes to the Redskins, we’re a bunch of hypocrites (Post)

Miner Elementary parents rally to save fired principal (Post)

Kenyan McDuffie bill would make it easier to figure out what affordable housing is actually affordable (Housing Complex)

Council will honor Mingering Mike next month (Arts Desk)

Man found stabbed near Navy Yard Wednesday afternoon (Post)

Dog owner in January pit bull attack has to give up his dogs (Post)

Woman tussles with X2 Metrobus driver (Post)

Giant and Safeway still rule D.C.-area grocery roost (WBJ)

WTOP boss: NPR building proves it doesn’t need taxpayer help (Post letter)

National Cathedral rings bells in celebration of DOMA’s demise (WUSA-TV)

And Vince Gray addressed a small crowd on Freedom Plaza (Blade)

A second Wagshal’s for Ward 3 (WAMU-FM)

This donut is tops in D.C. (Post)

Summer’s here. Where the hell are the Fort Reno shows? (PoPville)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · June 26, 2013