The NYPD is “failing” victims of sexual assault because of its “male-dominated culture” and “gender bias against female victims,” a new lawsuit claims.
In a complaint to be filed Thursday, Brooklyn residents Jennifer Welch Demski and Alison Turkos say detectives mishandled their reports of rape by never taking their cases seriously and leaving them in the dark on the botched investigations.
“Fundamentally, the failure emanates from the male-dominated culture that pervades the NYPD and the fundamental disregard for both how sex crimes occur and the debilitating, life-altering harm they cause,” the women claim, according to the New York Post, which first reported on their complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Demski says a former boyfriend forced himself on her while she was sleeping in July 2015. When she reported the alleged crime to her local precinct, a sergeant told her what she experienced wasn’t rape because she didn’t fight back, a separate lawsuit Demski filed this month states. He also allegedly questioned why she “was doing this to” her ex.
“The sergeant commented that Ms. Demski looked attractive in her driver’s license photograph and dismissed her claims of having been assaulted by observing that he frequently has sex with his wife while she is asleep and that his wife does not report such conduct as rape,” Demski’s complaint, filed Jan. 4, states.
Demski claimed the NYPD only started investigating her alleged assault in May 2018, after she inquired about filing a complaint about the officers involved in her initial report. But by that point, Demski says, her alleged rapist had moved out of state.
Meanwhile, Turkos says she fell asleep in a Lyft around 2:30 a.m. in October 2017. When she woke, her driver had allegedly kidnapped her at gunpoint and took her to a New Jersey park, where she was “viciously and brutally raped” by three men.
The NYPD detective who fumbled her case had also messed up several other sexual-assault investigations, Turkos claims. The FBI took the case over, the lawsuit says.
In response to the women’s claims, an NYPD spokesman told the Post, “The NYPD is committed to doing anything and everything to ensure survivors feel the safety and support needed to come forward and help the NYPD bring them the justice they deserve.”
“Over the last 10 months, the NYPD has made major improvements to strengthen the Special Victims Division with a victim-centered approach, including new leadership, significant policy enhancements, facility improvements and deepened training to amplify our ability to respond effectively to survivors,” the spokesman concluded.