Case Cleared (Part 1)
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Even the best of workplaces can be sexist this show brings evidence-based analysis and practical tips from experts who know sexism when they see it workplace gender equality requires more than top-down policy or individuals leaning in it requires allies, solidarity support and strategy it requires battle tactics. Find battle tactics for your sexist workplace on I tunes Google play. Or wherever you get your podcasts from the center for investigative reporting in PR x this is revealed. I'm L lesson before we start today show, you should know that it deals with graphic allegations of sexual assault. Something that the country has been wrestling with a lot lately Dr foreign with what degree of certainty. Do you believe Brad Kavanagh assaulted? One hundred percent. I categorically and unequivocally denied the allegation against me by Dr Ford. Britt Cavanaugh supreme court confirmation raised a lot of questions about how we deal with accusations of sexual assault. Here's how President Donald Trump dealt with Dr Ford's accusation. How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? And remember where is the place? I don't remember how many years ago was it. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know it on Twitter. Trump suggested that if the assault really happened law enforcement would have been involved in charges would have been filed. In other words, there'd be proofed because the police would have investigated this. But Trump's own Justice department says that mostly about twenty percent of survivors ever report these crimes to beliefs. Let's look at the president's other suction that after sexual assault is reported police would fully investigate that they get to the bottom of Justice would be served. When the president tweeted that we were wrapping up an investigation that took over a year looking at how rapes are really handled in our criminal Justice system. We teamed up with reporters Mark green Blad of newsy, the online and Cable News Network and Bernice Yar propublica together, we looked at more than seventy thousand reported rapes from scores of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors all over the country, we read hundreds of detail police reports and followed court cases. Start to finish what we want to know our police solving as many rape cases as they claim. And if they aren't who's getting hurt Mark and Bernice begin in Illinois on a case that will take them around the country, Mark and iron Peoria to meet and Eli Scher. He's thirty seven years old a friendly guy with a full beard, and a quiet voice built sort of like a big teddy bear we want to talk to him because he took a risk to try and bring a man to Justice. We're at a park by the Illinois river, that's where the three of us find a picnic table in a wide field away from playgrounds and ballfields. We wanna find somewhere quiet to talk by day. Andy works as a youth. Pastor that's his passion. But it's never paid very much. So he's always had other jobs as much as my call calls to be a pastor might call as to be house spittle the people and I get to express that through in a front desk clerk at. Hotel. He likes connecting with people. He would ordinarily never meet sometimes conversations are just meant to take place. And you get to experience humanity people on a little bit deeper level up the highway a few hours away in Janesville, Wisconsin. And he used to work the night shift at a Ramada inn. It looks pretty typical two stories lots of brick with a parking lot all the way around inside all the hallways. Open onto a big arched glass. Atrium their arcade games in one corner. A swimming pool a hot tub and security cameras linked to a monitor at the front desk. One night while keeping an eye on those security cameras. Andy notices a girl in the hot tub. Guesses. She's about sixteen for a sixteen year old kid to be able to go hang out at a hotel room with a pool and jacuzzi. I it seems trivial to us. But for for a kid. I mean, that's exciting stuff. And it's changed. Ville it's not that exciting. Andy recognizes the girl she's been a guest there before and from his spot at the front desk through the video feed. He sees someone else in the hot tub with her. It's a man he looks older than she is too old me about the first time. You can remember seeing this individual this older man hanging out at the Ramada that you worked at. The hot tub. Remember them just being really a little too close. Even even through the. Security camera. Just felt awkward. I mean, they were there's an intimacy happening. Just in that kind of thing real kisses mouth to mouth. Yeah. In the hot tub. And you know, you don't know details. Right. So it's not like Iran out there and bust up whatever's going on after all privacy is part of what guests are buying. So Andy just watches and he worries watches the teenager in the man go upstairs to their room worries as they leave the hotel, arm-in-arm laughing. They had just walked out. In fact, when a young man walks in he's delivering takeout for another guest and happens to know the girl she saw them leaving of the hotel. And he said, I do or whatever and then came in to deliver a sandwich. He said man, I wish I could do something about that. And I said, well, what do you mean? He said, well, you know, she's only sixteen and he's twenty six or something like that. And turns out no, actually like thirty one. And I said well. Tell me tell me more about that. And he said well. She's been seeing them for a while now and everybody just wants to stop. But nobody does anything about it pastor Andy decides somebody should just said, well, I mean, if if you can't I will Andy calls the cops eventually he'll find out that police in the state hundreds of miles away new lot about this man could have arrested him, but didn't right now. And he knows nothing more than what he'd seen. What was his thinking your mind? The rest of that girl's life. She looked and she looking duress. No see actually seem to be enjoying her time. But that doesn't make it. Okay. About an hour after sunset on a Monday evening in may to Janesville police officers showed up at the Ramada inn. The girl had already gone home, the officers confronted the man at the door of his room and confirmed that he was thirty one years old. He admitted to kissing the girl police seized his belongings, including two cell phones, and they arrested him. His name is Brian Sean kind. We're not naming the girl or any possible victim of sex abuse. Unless they choose to be named. Last spring more than a year after his arrest. Ryan sits in a courtroom in Janesville. He's got a small build blonde hair. And he's wearing an orange prison uniform. All right. I have two files twelve entitled state of Wisconsin for supplying s kind during this pretrial hearing the prosecutor asked Thomas Beschin lead detective on the case about his interview with the girl the night. Brian kind was arrested. Did you ask her what happened with her event? And what did she inform you? Ashman in that they've in dating on April first of two thousand sixteen when she was fifteen years old initially denying that there is any sexual contact but a minute to kissing going at dates that type of activity. However, eventually she did say that they had sexual contact. And she hasn't made approximately two hundred. Two hundred Ryan kind wouldn't agree to talk to us and on this day in court said nothing including about that accusation that he had sex with a teenager two hundred times police say the girl was fifteen when the relationship started sixteen by the time Brian was arrested. The police report says the two met online the Brian regularly drove more than three hundred miles from his hometown in Michigan to Wisconsin, taking the girls to the movies shopping and out for ice cream. The police report says he was upset when she planned to go to her senior prom that the girl skipped it to stay with him at a hotel. Instead, we talked to people who know Brian in the small town where he grew up the police chief remembers arresting Brian for bounce checks than drugs. His mom called him a good student and a good worker, but immature like thirty one going on eighteen she said. In janesville. Brian kind could face decades in prison for sexual assault of a minor. And it's not just that detective Beschin tells me that when police examined Brian's to cell phones, they found pictures of the girl and other girls to I'm this wasn't the first child that he had had this type of contact with Sinn the first child they had pornographic images of to me that would lead to a pattern of behavior. It is not that he just had pornographic images of children that maybe he downloaded online. These were pictures that he took himself some of them that he probably took are directed. The child will take. Police found evidence that made them suspect. Brian kind is a repeat offender three total girls that we found the local girl in our area and the Janesville area girl from the Baltimore area. And then a girl from Ohio Janesville, Wisconsin outside Baltimore, Maryland, and Ohio they suspected he had contact with underage girls in at least three states. So detective veteran shared what he knew with police in those other states, and he found out something really disturbing. He found out that eight hundred miles away in a suburb of Baltimore police already knew about Brian kind. They had in fact spent more than a year building a case against him for an alleged sexual relationship with another teenage girl, they never arrested him. But made it look like the case had been solved. How could that happen? And why that's what Mark and Bernice wanted to find out when we come back. They had to Baltimore looking for answers. That's coming up. Reveal from the center for investigative reporting and p r x. Reveal is supported by the all new simply safe simply safe's brand new system is smaller faster stronger than ever before completely rebuilt and redesigned with new safeguards against power outages. Downed WI fi cut landlines bats hammers. And everything in between. It's the first security system that you might actually call the youthful, you should check it out. And what's remarkable you still get twenty four seven protection for only fifteen dollars a month and no contract. But supplies are limited. Visit SimpliSafe dot com slash reveal. So I want to recommend a podcast that I think you'll like it's called someone knows something season five host David region. Takes on one of Canada's biggest cold cases, the murder of Kerry Brown in October nineteen Eighty-six fifteen year old Carrie Brown disappeared from a house party for body was found two days later in the wooded area outside of town. A suspect was arrested and charged. But the case never made it to trial David helps track down witnesses and suspects and uncovers new evidence that may have been overlooked the time subscribe to someone knows something wherever you listen to podcasts. From the center for investigative reporting in PR X, this is reveal amount lesson when we left off you're on the trail of an alleged child predator. A man now in his thirties named Brian kind scarlet facing trial in Wisconsin for allegedly raping a teenage girl there, but we also found out that police hundreds of miles away in Maryland spent more than a year investigating him in a very similar case police, they're never arrested him or press charges. And he went free Bernice young of propublica. Mark green blood of newsy have been investigating. What happened warning before we pick up the story? It contains disturbing allegations of sexual abuse. We got our hands on a report put together by police in Howard county, Maryland, it says Brian kind met a girl online a local girl who was just twelve years old twelve years old take a minute and think about that a girl not even a teenager a middle schooler just starting to figure out who she is in the world. From the police report, we know a few things about her that she has shoulder length hair and shows her teeth when she smiles when she writes, she colors in her exclamation points. And we know that she and Brian kind signed many of their messages by spelling out, the sound of a kiss police say she was thirteen by the time Brian meets her in person in Howard county. That's where we head to the suburbs outside. Baltimore. There's the Wendy's. On the corner. Yeah, there it is. Tonight. This is our first stop in reconstructing the case that Howard county police built against Brian kind. The police report says Brian met the young girl for the first time in person right here here, it is that the the victim stated that she got herself over to Wendy's in order to meet Brian kind, and they had lunch July. Twenty fifteen hint driven from Michigan to Maryland to come to this very Wendy's to have lunch with a thirteen year old. Here. Taking a child out to someplace special someplace fun buying them. Treats child, therapists, tell us it's one of the ways that predators. Groom potential victims in the evidence file we find to video interviews the lead Howard county detective did with the girl on her parents in one video the girl wears Jean shorts and shoes with bright pink laces. She fidgets as she talks while the detective leans in listens closely and the other video the girl tells the detective that being with Brian felt protective the compared themselves, so Romeo and Juliet the girl stepdad tells her if he's doing it to you. He's doing it to someone else. The same detective interviewed the girl. Four times over six months learning. New details with each conversation. The detective spent months building trust with the girl and piece together a bunch of evidence including photos phone records and hotel receipts. She boiled it all down into straightforward bullet points typed into the police report. That's what guided Mark and me to the Wendy's where police say Brian kind I met with the girl, and it's what we use to follow their journey from there. The second interview that the detective does with her once again, the Wendy's is brought up for lunch. But this time she talks about a hotel motel. But now the detective is sort of piecing things together right that Brian kind had stayed in a place called the home style in at the home style in twice in July once in September twenty fifteen she says that she had sex with Brian kind. So she's she's really coming out for the first time admitting that they had sex in this hotel motel. You ought to go. Check it out check it out. The Wendy's is in Howard county cul de sac suburbia, west of Baltimore crisscrossed by big busy roads. Like this one. We hit a big bump as we crossed the county line. We just drove from Howard county where the young victim limps across the county line into Baltimore County, which is where this hellish on your right hump style in. So we're we're a mile away. Now, it's just across the county line, and that one mile seems to have made all the difference in this case all the difference because even though Howard county police spent nearly a year investigating the alleged sex crime happened across the county line in Baltimore County. Gosh, home and with the special rates starting at forty nine ninety nine. Plus tax by see rust on the walls paint the scraping off. It's a two story motel these -til doors, brick facade. You can see kind of almost straight into the rooms themselves. The windows are covered with these curtains that look like they've been hanging there for a long long time. It's just truly a decrepit building there's a guy standing in doorway in room to forty five. That's the room where they were in. Someone in there right now standing on looking at us. Looks like the place of last resort. You know, you got nowhere else to go. They've got the single occupancy. You know, sign up front stressed. Just grin. We leave bothered by this place, and what authorities say happened here. Howard county investigated this case for close to a year. They did a very detailed investigation interviews with the girl phone records hotel receipts. But ultimately Howard county. Prosecutors sent the case to neighboring Baltimore County because that's where the alleged rapes happened. We requested interviews with Howard county police, but they declined and when all this was handed over to Baltimore County, the investigation stalled the case was open for six months, but police there added no new investigative information. Baltimore county. Police spokesman Sean Vincent agreed to talk to Mark by phone. But he wouldn't let us record his end of the conversation. Hey, I'm okay, Shaun. How are you doing? Mark ask Sean about what happened with the Brian kind investigation. Just so I have the facts right here. So it looked so you received the case in December of two thousand sixteen from Howard county. You're saying Sean says a detective from ball. Tumour county tried to get in touch with the girl's family, the next five months. Detectives say that they were attempting to make contact with the victim or the family Baltimore County records show a detective there talk to the girl's mother at least once his notes say the mother told him that she would talk to her family about next steps when he didn't hear back. The report says he sent a letter telling them he planned to suspend the case, which he did two weeks later, Sean confirms all of this there. There's no record of any kind of any contact or interview with the suspect Brian kind by detectives is it accurate to say they they never interviewed the suspect. They hadn't. All right. Thank you so much. Thank you purple. In a later Email, Sean says they never interviewed or arrested Brian kind because the alleged victim and our family didn't participate in the investigation. He says it's all about a child centered approach making the welfare of child victims, the top priority, not the success of the criminal investigation or prosecution. The department does acknowledge a better option may be to review all these types of cases with prosecutors before suspending them an experts tell us there's even more that could have been done, for instance, police could've used the evidence they had to try to force a confession the could've tried that. While still protecting the victim. We want to parse the Maryland investigation in more detail. So we drive two hours north to downtown Philadelphia to talk to an expert who can evaluate this case. My name's Tom mcdevitt. I'm a retired Lieutenant little if you police department Tom investigated sex crimes for the Philadelphia police for most of his career. I thought we were really good. I mean, I thought we were to best. There's no doubt about it. He was commander of the sex crimes unit in nineteen ninety nine. When a news expose on the Philadelphia police broke it showed that for years. Philly cops would make legitimate rape cases. Disappear by wrongly categorizing them as false or baseless reports Tom's chief assigned him to work closely with women's advocates to review all of those cases day after day file after file he tells us this process changed him tell you that if to look into sales cases, there was a day that I looked over at the tenant and said how did we get? This bed. These days. Tom trains police across the country, and how to investigate sexual assault cases. We brought Tom all the files on Brian kind and asked him to give us his take on how police handled the case there is no record of an interview at any point with the suspect. What do you make of that? Well, I can tell you that if it was my investigation, we would have had him interviewed ahead. Either local police department over the internet crimes task force almost every state has won which consist of local and federal authorities co L to his home interview him would obtain search warrants first computer in his phone why you need that. I mean, more than likely he's going to tell you what happened. Did you get a confession from this more likely that you don't have to have the victim testify? You're going to gather more evidence from his computer stuff that may have been not been able to have been retrieved on his phone her phone Howard county, which did the detailed investigation collected more than seventy. Pages of text messages and emails going back and forth between Brian kind and the young girl, many are goofy romantic, but in some Brian cautions the girl to keep quiet in one. He writes, you know, you can't tell anyone I come to see you in another. He tells her you have to understand what would happen if they see me with you. We ask Tom what he sees in the messages in the emails. It was obvious that they had some kind of sexual relationship when he talks about, you know. Her laying in his lap. And crying and saying you love me, and he he gets the age difference in the difference between us, you know, plus the whole world against us. My opinion is that this type of person hasn't matured. They may have a job or something else. But emotionally, he hasn't been chore pissed a certain age, and he's more likely to tell you what happened when you question. So here on this document, which is kind of the last page of the police file that we have from Baltimore County. It says we show Tom the place in the report we found where Baltimore County police say how they resolve the case how Brian kind was never charged or arrested, but police were able to make it look like a success. The report is marked x dash clear. That's police shorthand for exceptional clearance, an exceptional clearance means that you not cry. You're able to prove a crime occurred. You have victim, you know, where the person is. And who they are the defendant and either to prosecutor doesn't want to prosecute or the victim doesn't want to go forward with the case. An official at the department of Justice tells us that exceptional clearance is supposed to be used rarely for example, when a suspect can't be arrested because they're dead or already in prison, a victim won't cooperate or prosecutor refuses to take the case. But even then police have to meet a high bar FBI rules require that the police still need to have enough evidence for an arrest in order to exceptionally clear the case, but here's the thing. Exceptionally cleared cases are often presented to the public. As solved even though no arrest has ever made and no charges are ever filed. And the suspect remains on the streets. There included in crime stats many police agencies use to show what a good job they're doing. It turns out that this is a pretty common practice for Baltimore County. We reviewed three years of crime data from the county and found that they reported really impressive clearance rates for rape seventy percent in two thousand sixteen that's getting close to double the national average. But when. We unpack those numbers we found that more than half of those rape cases were cleared by exceptional means. Meaning no suspect was ever arrested or charged with a crime, take the Brian kind case. There was a suspect and strong evidence. And police say the victim and her family were unresponsive and not cooperating with the investigation. So this case may meet the requirements for exceptional clearance. But it may not we just don't know because Baltimore County police won't comment directly about why. They exceptionally cleared the case in part because the county just got sued over how it handles rape investigations. But Tom says this is where exceptional clearance gets complicated. Because the question is always what more could police have done in this case, he says a lot did they work to build trust with the victim. Why didn't they interview the suspect? I think the biggest thing to take from this in almost any sexual assault investigation as you have to handle this as if it was a homicide investigation. Do you have to do every? Single thing possible. And then includes gathering all the evidence, you can't and don't ever miss the opportunity to talk in the defendant. And then you gotta remember that you have to look at these cases that every single one of them as a potential serial rapist Baltimore County, pushed back on Tom's analysis questioning his expertise in Maryland law. We take what we learn to pastor and Eli Scher the man who called police when he saw Bryan with another teenage girl at that hotel in Janesville, Wisconsin Andy had no idea about Baltimore. He didn't know that there were other possible victims or that police in Maryland knew all about Brian but failed to stop him. Mark explains it appears as if you may have actually stopped someone who has been on record and on the radar of other police agencies in other parts of the country. India's is quiet Mark tells him what Brian kind was accused of in Maryland. Then shows him the evidence. What's your taking just seeing a little bit of this right here? Gross. It's really gross. They read through the emails and compare the dates this police report was filed a year and a half before the incident Janesville. That's correct. I should've prosecuted to the full extent of the law at that point. Why what's at stake? If they don't more thirteen year old girls. Mark explains to Andy the way that Baltimore County cleared the case. So it turns out the leadership from the Baltimore County. Police department has talked about how their clearance rates are higher than the national average on things like category of rape. When we dug into their crime statistics, we found that a lot of the crimes that they quote unquote, clear are similar to this where they actually never make an arrest clear. The case exceptionally leave the suspect on the streets and move on. So they got a feather in their cap, and it comes at a high price. What happened in Baltimore County? What police did there will it may have shocked, Andy. But it turns out police do this all the time Mark and Bernice investigated law enforcement agencies across the country and found that in cases of rape exceptional clearance is not so exceptional after all. So let's get the big pitcher, Mark. How did you start? Well, always started by looking at how many rape cases law enforcement agencies say that they solve more than eighteen thousand police departments report their crime stats to the FBI. But we found that when they report those stats most big cities lumped together all their cleared cases into one big number. So there's no way to tell which cases were cleared by arrest or by invoking exceptional means they're all just marked cleared into the public. They all look like they're solved. In fact, many police departments actually described their combined clearances as solved cases. But we knew it. More complicated than that. So how did you dig below those F B I numbers to figure out how many rape cases police are actually solving. So we as law enforcement agencies for their raw numbers, and then we analyze them. This was a big team effort really led by our colleague, Mark Fahey over at newsy. We reached out to every major jurisdiction in the US with more than three hundred thousand people, and that's more than a hundred city and county law enforcement agencies. We public records requests. So we could run the numbers and calculate. How many rape cases they cleared by arrest? And then how many they cleared by exceptional means, and we got data back from more than sixty of them. And what we discovered was shocking almost half, the big, cities and counties took more rape cases off of their books by marking them exceptionally cleared than by actually arresting a suspect. That's according to their own numbers. So does that mean most clearances don't include an arrest? Well in almost half the communities that we looked at. That's exactly what we found take Hillsborough county Florida where Tampa is there's a. Really big sheriff's office there and in two thousand sixteen if you look at the combined clearance rate, it looks really good sixty five percent. But when we analyzed their raw numbers, we found that only twelve percent of rape cases lead to an arrest and more than three times as many were cleared. Exceptionally no arrests made and no charges filed in those cases, and we found very high exceptional clearance rates in lots of places, Oakland, California and Austin, Texas, or just two more examples and in smaller cities to really just all over the map a few law enforcement agencies cleared over sixty percent of their rape cases by exceptional means. And I should add that there were many cities and counties that did not turn over their data on clearance information despite repeated asks they include Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, San Francisco Cleveland, and because they wouldn't share their information. It's impossible to know how well police are doing when it comes to investigating rape. Or any of these cases that police are clearing by exceptional means actually false. Sports ones that should really be taken off the books. No, that's something entirely different. If police think a sexual assault report is false or that may be something happened. But it wasn't a crime police would categorize that as unfounded, and they drop it from their crime counts. Yeah. And for police to clear case by exceptional means they have to have enough evidence against a suspect to establish probable cause. These are supposed to be good cases arrestable cases. Again. The only reason police are supposed to use exceptional means is when something stands in their way of making arrest. You mentioned that to the public all of these rapes look solved our police departments. Actually, massaging the numbers. They're certainly not making any effort to spell out differences between clearing a case by arresting someone of versus clearing it exceptionally. In fact, many departments boast publicly about their high rape clearance rates, and and they never breathe a word that over half the time. No one's been arrested. You hear this, for example, when police officials testify in front of city council, it's useful for law. Enforcement to look successful, especially at budget hearings when they come looking for money. So you guys spent a year on this. What's the takeaway? You know to me out. It's that some cities are are really honest and transparent. And when they tell you that they cleared a bunch of rape cases. They really did. They really took a lot of people off the street. But then what you don't know is that there are other cities that don't do that that are telling you that that they're clearing a lot of cases. But that in fact, it's it's almost like a smokescreen. It's not really giving you a an accurate representation of how well the police are doing and for me, Al it's really that. You know, all of these numbers they mask what's really actually happening in the real world. We're presented with this picture that law enforcement is making our community safer by taking you know, alleged rapists off the street when really what's happening is. They're just gaming the numbers. And in the end, it's really the public that loses. People do not know how rape is really handled in their community. Mark bernice. Thank you. Thank you out. You bet. Oh. Coming up, Mark. And Bernice take us to Austin with police officials have repeatedly bragged city council about their high clearance rates for rape will introduce you to a whistleblower who says she was pushed to change the numbers. That's coming up on reveal from the center for investigative reporting and P R X. From the center for investigative reporting in p r x this is reveal I'm outlets. Today. We're looking at how police handle sexual assault. Cases are reporting partners are pro Bernice young and newsies Mark green blend together, we review data for more than sixty major American cities in counties, we found that when the police say a rape has been cleared. It doesn't always mean it's been solved a lot of the time suspects. Walk free, though, arrests made no accountability one place that stands out for clearing cases. This way is Austin, Texas. That's where Bernice Mark follow the story next. Austin is a college town with vibrant, nightlife. We're on sixth street in downtown the hub of bars and dance clubs this strip. Stays busy most nights until the wee hours. Marina Connor came to six street a lot when she was a student at UT Austin. She grew up in a small Texas town, but always dreamed of moving here wanting to be around big thinkers by day, and like so many college students to have fun at night. And she says she always felt safe. I didn't have any problem walking up and down the drag at night by myself or with just a friend. You know, walking to the corner store by myself at night wasn't scared about that walking on campus at night. Definitely wasn't scared about that one night on sixth street three years ago. Marina and a friend sat on the curb waiting for a ride home. It was about two AM. She says a man approached selling drugs, and he asked us into by any cocaine and conversation turned into that only wanted to buy it. If it was good coke. And the man said, well, I will give her bum. If she comes into the alley with me, and she can tell you if it's good or not marina doesn't remember everything about that moment. But she says many details are crystal clear. In fact, she says they're impossible to forget. And we should let you know that what she tells us is both violent and disturbing slam. Leads me into the alley leads me to parking garage. Two two men were there the man that led me into the parking garage. He slammed my head against the wall. And then he read to me, I I remember crying. I remember I remember saying stop and now, and and I remember the pain mostly as what I remember out painful. It was every time penetrated me as what I remember the messed. Marinas is are distant in her face. Sometimes titans as she describes that night. We're talking in the living room of her small Austin apartment. She still can't fully remember how she got home. I woke up my bad. My underwear on. And then things slowly started coming back to me. And then just hit me that I had been rate later that night. Marina's sister took her to a local organization for sexual assault victims where staff helped her get a medical exam and call police it was about twenty four hours after the rape. I did not in that moment. I did not understand. Why women didn't report and did not get like I knew I was rate. And like, why would you not report to the Justice system that is going to find your APIs prosecute and put him in jail. Like, why would you not do that? Awesome. Police just like police in many places around the country point to their clearance rates as a measure of how well they're doing solving crimes. Like rape. Here's then assistant chief Brian Manley at public safety commission meeting in two thousand sixteen. We also wanted to educate council on where we stand with our crime clearance rates that is very critical and appropriate measure of our performance. And we're fortunate that we do exceed the national average is on all categories as you can see with the homicide, the rapes all three categories of robberies lumped together. Manley flips through papers in his dark blue uniform the silver stars on his collar matches silver hair when he testifies interim chief at city council the following year because message stays the same. Again, he notes his department is exceeding the national average for solving crimes. All right on the activity reports councilman Jimmy Flanagan asks what he should. Make of the clearance. Rates is is percent of violent and property. Crimes. Cleared a number that is that all useful. Is this member actually being used as a metric operationally? Yes. It is we compare ourselves nationally, and we are above all of the of the standards that were compared to I have the numbers here. If you want them as far as are clearance rates but clearance rates show, the effectiveness of the work that we're doing. So to us we consider that a bad thing if our clearance rate is down we wanna high clearance rate. But a longtime Austin police insider says there's a big difference between wanting a high clearance rate and earning one either chief Manley is being given batting formation from those working underneath him. Or, you know, they're trying to report something that's not true or they are reporting something that's not true. Liz Donnegan retired from Austin's police department almost a year ago after a quarter century on the force and nearly a decade as the sergeant in charge of the sex crimes unit. This is the first time she's come forward about the way Austin PD handles rape crimes at my level. I don't understand why you would not report something accurately. I don't get it. You know? And that's maybe why got in trouble. Liz is a nationally recognized leader who regularly trains other police agencies on how to better investigate rape. And how to treat victims knowing her reputation. I ask Liz what did you do to get in trouble? I had been told on two different occasions from the same commander under two different lieutenants that I needed to go back in and look at these cases that were suspended and change the clearance coat because we were not to the national average of exceptional Clarence in Austin strict requirements must be met the four police can clear cases exceptionally, but Liz says the cases her bosses wanted her to change did not meet those requirements still. She says she was pressured to change cases from suspended to exceptionally cleared. So that they would look like they were solved that would help the city stack up better against other police departments around the country, and I told them that. That if information comes in that lends itself to this particular investigation that would have changed the case closure, then that will happen, but me going in and looking at these cases is not going to change the case closure. It is what it is. Liz tells me defying her bosses orders came with a cost. Well, you know, I don't know what was going on behind the scenes. I mean, I can only guess, but you know, I eventually was removed from the unit. That was in two thousand eleven the next year exceptional clearances spiked. In twenty twelve we found the share of rape cases cleared by exceptional means shot up by fifty percent higher rates continued through today making it appear like the police solve more rapes than they actually do for more than a month. Austin police ignored our requests for an interview. But after the mayor's office intervened calling the allegations very serious chief Manley agreed to talk with us in the police headquarters media room, he sat near Texas flag, a dark wooden podium, Mark outlined Liz's claims to the chief sergeant Donna GAN's assertions are that she was told directed on multiple occasions to go back in and change clearance codes for the crime of rape from suspended to exceptionally cleared. And she said it was wrong to do. And she refused. The order. I think there was a difference of opinions on what the appropriate way to clear cases, where you have no reason to believe she's not trustworthy. No. I'm not here to make character assessments. I think we're here to talk about the data and all and I think that if we get back onto what we're here to talk about. It was a difference of opinions back in two thousand eleven two thousand twelve. Chief Manley says that in two thousand twelve supervisors analyzed how the department handled rape investigations they concluded they weren't doing it. Right. That too many cases where listed as suspended when they should have been exceptionally cleared. So they started clearing more cases by exceptional means after Liz Donnegan left in the way that she'd refused to do chief. Manley says that's what accounts for the jump in exceptional clearances in two thousand sixteen. There were more than eight hundred rapes reported to police in Austin of those four percent or thrown out is false or baseless half of the rest were cleared. But look at how suspects were only arrested seventeen percent of the time twice as often. Thirty three percent of the time reported rapes were cleared by exceptional means Mark asks chief Manley about telling a city council member that Austin has high crime clearance rates. Why did the chief not also mentioned Austin's high rate of? Exceptional clearances. Should you not also have gone on to tell him? We only are arresting maybe seventeen or twenty percent of the year. And perhaps that's information that he would evaluate in that inner change. I believe I gave him a fair and accurate answer to his question without going into how many crimes were cleared exceptionally versus how often you make arrests again, I gave him a fair and accurate response. And I explained what the data is. And how we stood compared to our comparative cities msd on again sees it differently. I think it gives a false sense to the community that this case has been thoroughly investigated, and it's closed. It's not truthful, and I think it just gives the appearance that. We're able to clear more of these rapes than we actually our data shows. Austin exceptionally cleared more than fourteen hundred rape cases between twenty twelve and twenty seventeen that means they didn't arrest anyone in those cases with the rapes that are exceptionally cleared. You do believe that the awesome police department something in the case file means that you've gathered enough evidence to support interests. Yes. I couldn't exceptionally clear at otherwise. That means there are one thousand four hundred sixteen people out there who the awesome police department has established probable cause to make an arrest on but has not made the arrest. There is no prosecution and they're on the streets. That's a lot of people out there that you have probable cause to make an arrest on its you're not arresting. It's the unfortunate reality of sexual assault in this country. Is that the process itself? Unfortunately, keeps many survivors from wanting to participate in the process, and ultimately the prosecution. Is it really the victims fall tour is there's something going on within the Austin police department that maybe is not helping those victims feel as comfortable or or a safe in talking to your agency is it really fair to blame the victims. Here. I'm not blaming the victims and their survivors, by the way, but I'm not blaming them. If we've got a survivor who initially is unwilling to participate in the investigative process. The detective will not stop the investigation at that point. They will still track down every possible lead and work that case as far as they can. And then at that point if the survivor is still unwilling to cooperate, then it would be exceptionally cleared. Let's go back to marina the Austin college student. I told my active I wanted to be involved in every set of that from the beginning that I wanted to be there. Austin PD won't comment on her case or share her police report with us. Marina says they also haven't given it to her. But she says police did tell her they found the rape suspect. And he is scribes me to t described my outfit from that night. And he said that we had consensual sex marinas medical exam after that night documented, bruises tears and trauma on the form. In a section marked impression from exam the examiner typed sexual assault among other findings police let the man go waiting for the rape kit samples to come back from the lab that took two years and the lab didn't find DNA evidence. Marina says she learns this from the police detective, I finally gone to some therapy and was returning to school August, and she called me two weeks before I was about to start back to tell me that case was glued. I. Marina couldn't believe it. We reached out to the district attorney's office here in Travis county, and they wouldn't comment on marina's case. But did say they have additional facts they can't share with us right now. And then having enough evidence to arrest isn't the same as having enough to convict. Marina tells us she was angry and insisted on talking to the prosecutor in the case, and I down with her and she made it really started strives talk. I told her now as you're gonna let me talk I described Iraq to her. I made her look at me while I told her what happened to me. I was like you're going to look at me as a person as the survivor, not as this file sitting in front of you. And you're gonna tell me why you're not prosecuting my rapist, and she told me the CSI fix the CSI effect meeting. Juries are in. -fluenced by crime TV shows like CSI or DNA always saves the day. But in this case the man confirmed to police he had sex with marina gave the place and the date. The issue wasn't that it was whether this was consensual. Do you believe the jury should have allowed laying this? That's all I wanted was to be in a courtroom with him. We learned that marina's case was exceptionally cleared and told her and know that my cases considered exceptional cleared. It's offensive to me that they're using me. I'm using my case to make it look like. The city safe. Mark. In bernice. You raise some big questions about how much people can trust rape clearance numbers from police. So what if oh supposed to do? Well, people can start to ask police about the difference in pointed out publicly, for example, at city council meetings, like the one that we heard in Austin, the F B I is also should note slowly migrating to a different system of tracking crime. It's much more detailed and police will be specifically required to report to the feds. How many cases they exceptionally clear and say why but transparency alone does not necessarily solve this whole problem because we've looked at the cities who are using the new system and found that many continue to have very high exceptional clearance rates compared to arrests for rape. So some survivors have chosen to do with marina has done after her rape kits set on tested for years and her case was not prosecuted she joined a lawsuit with other plane. Tiffs to sue the city of Austin and Travis county for failing to bring Justice to victims. Okay. So most of the stories we heard today focused on how police are making it look like they've solved cases when they've only cleared them. But as we just heard with marina story. Prosecutors are also a big part of the problem. And that's what we're going to focus on next week. Right. Yeah. We go to Minnesota and meet a woman who accused a man of raping her prosecutors there refuse to charge him. So she does her own detective work. She actually cuts a hole into a teddy bear hides a camera inside, we have the secret recordings. She made from that. I can't wait to hear. Thank you. Both very much. Thank you. Thank you. Mark green bled. Mark Fahey of newsy along with propublica. Producer reported today. Show our lead producer was Emily Harris Brett Meyers edited the show with help from Andy Donahue and newsies Lewan Hamilton in Ellen Weiss special. Thanks to that Koos on Kenny. 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