Captain Peter Rose said acquaintance rapes are ‘not total abominations’ as advocates assert that most sexual assault survivors know their attackers

Molly Redden Saturday 7 January


DNAInfo, a news site covering NYC neighborhood news, reported that NYPD captain said acquaintance rapes are ‘not total abomination rapes’ like ‘stranger rapes’ are. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Victims’ rights advocates are reacting with shock to the remarks of a New York City police captain who said that acquaintance rapes are not as serious as rapes perpetrated by strangers.

“They’re not total abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets,” said Captain Peter Rose of the New York City police department’s 94th precinct. “If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards.”

Rose made his comments in a community council meeting on Wednesday, according to DNAInfo, a news site covering New York City neighborhood news.

A spokesman for the 94th precinct, which is headquartered in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, referred a request for comment to the NYPD.

In a statement, the NYPD said, “Captain Rose’s comments did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints. Every report of rape is thoroughly investigated by specially trained detectives in the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit. All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are committed by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers.”

“Due to the anonymous and random nature of rapes committed by strangers, detectives often face greater challenges in these types of crimes. Regardless, all sexual offenses are taken seriously.”

Rose echoed his comments in the community meeting in an interview with DNAInfo. The website was inquiring about an apparent spike in rape reports in the Greenpoint neighborhood, many of which remain unsolved.

“Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more,” Rose said. “It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of them were actually coworkers. It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes.”

Rose is not a member of the special victims division that investigates almost all reports of rape in New York City. When a rape is reported in his precinct, it is likely that officers under his command take an initial report before referring the case to that division.

Victims’ rights groups decried Rose’s comments as insensitive toward rape victims and not reflective of the reality of many of these crimes.

“Rape is an abomination whether it’s a stranger rape or an acquaintance rape,” said Josie Torielli, the assistant director of intervention at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. “Levels of knowledge vary within the NYPD. But one of the things we understand here, as advocates, is that acquaintance rapes are just as devastating and just as abominable.

Jennifer Gentile Long, the CEO of Aequitas, a group that advises prosecutors in sex crime cases, noted that research consistently shows that the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim has met.

“Very few rapes are by strangers dragging people off the streets,” she said.
“One of the best weapons a rapist has is to get a victim in a position where they may be trusting, feeling like they know this person.”

She added that many serial rapists commit assaults against both strangers and acquaintances. Recent movements to test large backlogs of rape kits have found many serial rapists that were identified to police in the past but allowed to go free because the accuser was an acquaintance, and her report was dismissed or minimized.

“If you’re missing those cases where people know each other, it’s problematic for capturing serial rapists” who frequently target strangers.

Torielli said Rose’s comments demonstrate the need for police departments to have specially trained officers to oversee reports of rape, as New York’s does. Comments like his, she said, could discourage rape victims from making a report.

“When someone’s disclosing an incident of sexual violence, the response that they receive not only has an impact on their recovery but could perhaps have an impact on other survivors wanting to come forward,” she said.

DNAInfo identified 10 reports of rape and assault dating to 2016 and taking place in the 94th precinct in which police had made no arrests. Among the accusers, two women claimed they were assaulted by coworkers after socializing with them. One woman claimed a friend raped her, another claimed her boss forced her to have oral sex. Two women said they were attacked by taxi or Lyft drivers.

Two of those 10 cases concluded when the women returned to their homes in California and Florida, Rose told the website, and one case concluded after the woman reporting the rape declined to go to the hospital or give a description of her attacker. Rose blamed the lack of arrests generally on uncooperative victims.

“When I hear the phrase we didn’t have a cooperating victim, my antenna always goes up,” Jane Manning, the advocacy director of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, told DNAInfo. “If you hear ‘I can’t get the victim to cooperate’ in case after case, you should be asking yourself what are they failing to do?”



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