D.C.

MPD investigation of handling of sex assaults: More training needed

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A new report on the District of Columbia police department's handling of sexual assault investigations recommends expanded training for officers and the appointment of an outside expert.

The report by the law firm of Crowell & Moringwas presented Thursday at a round-table discussion before the D.C. Council.

It was conducted in response to a highly critical report from Human Rights Watch that found police hadn't adequately investigated a large number of sex assault complaint.

"I said it that night and I have been saying it every day since then you're not listening," said just one of 170 sex assaults that Human Rights Watch says were documented through forensics yet D.C. police didn't investigate.

The new report says the Human Rights Watch report was a "catalyst for positive change" and identified areas for improvements. But it also calls the methodology flawed and says some of the conclusions are unsubstantiated.

MPD'S assistant chief says the nearly 200 page report was "....embellished … essentially they took 1,500 cases they were only able to find eight real victims. They had negative experiences with Metropolitan police department."

The Human Rights Watch report, which was released this past January, alleged that at least 170 reported sexual assaults between 2008 and 2011 went uninvestigated.

Their report also detailed what they called "callous behavior" toward sexual assault victims.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the findings of the new report "mirrored our own."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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