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Cynthia Alvarado was raped in jail before she was sentenced to life in prison for a murder she did not commit. Now that her sentence has been overturned, Alvarado is fighting for women like her.
Former top cops say a culture of neglect at the NYPD has left inexperienced and poorly trained officers in charge of some of the department’s most sensitive cases.
Many of the 230,000 women and girls in U.S. jails and prisons were abuse survivors before they entered the system. Research for The Appeal shows that at least 30 percent of those serving time on murder or manslaughter charges were protecting themselves or a loved one from physical or sexual violence.
Justine van der Leun
More than 20 women accused Harry Morel, a longtime district attorney in Louisiana, of sexual misconduct. But Morel pleaded guilty to just a single obstruction of justice count while Mike Zummer, the FBI agent who investigated him, was fired. Now, Zummer is speaking about what he says is a grave injustice—at the hands of the Justice Department.
While a debate over defunding the police rages in Austin, a new lawsuit reminds its residents that assault cases in the city are routinely ignored.
In New York, fewer people who have experienced sexual assault or rape have sought forensic exams at hospitals during the pandemic. But advocates suggest that’s not evidence of declining sexual violence.
Though domestic violence is often cited as a reason to maintain the carceral status quo, advocates say there are more humane—and effective—alternatives.
New York attorneys have launched a campaign to release transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary prisoners during the pandemic.
A complaint filed in 2013 on behalf of 500 currently and formerly incarcerated youth alleged that they were assaulted and harassed by incarcerated adults and corrections staff in adult prisons and jails across the state.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Logbooks were seized as part of an inquiry into misconduct allegations against high-ranking officers in the division that investigates sex crimes.
The rise of progressive prosecutors and the #MeToo movement has meant an increased focus on sexual assault. But justice cannot be measured in more prosecution or long sentences.
Guards at the Mark Stiles Unit in Beaumont are alleged to have led the victim to a hallway where there were no security cameras.
Alternative approaches to rehabilitation and healing still face resistance, even though the criminal legal system’s reliance on punishment has done little to move the needle on addressing sexual violence.
District Attorney Margaret Moore continues to face accusations that her office mishandles the prosecution of sex crimes.
At least three women made police reports about Girls Do Porn in 2015, but recruiters continued to exploit women until the FBI stepped in last month.
A federal lawsuit claims that Asheville, North Carolina's interim chief, Robert C. White, prevented a rape victim from filing a complaint against an officer when he led the Louisville, Kentucky, department.
Miller's victim impact statement was centered in a recent '60 Minutes' segment on the Brock Turner case. But such statements do not heal victims, and Miller's unfavorable comparison of Turner's sentence to drug offenders only reinforces carceral logic.
Heather Marlowe, now an activist, says neglected kits are a reflection of who and what police prioritize.
The carceral system fails to heal victims and perpetuates trauma by caging human beings. It‘s time to try something else.
Over a three-year period, Alachua County prosecutors closed 236 sexual battery cases: 115 were dropped, 92 were offered plea deals, and seven went to trial.
A nearly 30-year-old New York Times Magazine profile of the infamous prosecutor may reveal as much about Linda Fairstein as Ava DuVernay‘s acclaimed new Netflix series.
Since 2017, LaToni Daniel has been incarcerated pretrial in a capital murder case. During that time, Daniel became pregnant, and she just delivered a baby boy. But as she brings in new life, she also faces the death penalty.
With Appeal contributor Meg O’Connor
Adam H. Johnson
New NYPD data show that in 2018 the department closed nearly 500 rape cases due to an alleged lack of participation from victims and had a declining clearance rate for rape, raising questions over its handling of sexual assault.
Banishing people from the subway will only marginalize them without addressing the problem.
Their claims are part of a federal lawsuit; other women say they, too, were assaulted and the officer now faces a raft of criminal charges.
As Kamala Harris begins her presidential run, her move to block gender affirming surgery for an incarcerated transgender woman deserves scrutiny, especially as new cases highlighting the struggle for the rights of imprisoned trans women emerge.
Advocates say victims are being pressured to sign ‘withdrawal’ forms to quickly close investigations and protect the department from legal liability.
In Travis County, detectives refused training that would have helped them interview victims of trauma.
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
Before Edgar Coker was exonerated in a rape case, he underwent therapy meant to prevent sexual reoffenses. Thousands of kids involved in sexual offenses are forced into therapies like “relapse prevention” that experts say are ineffective.
Joseph Darius Jaafari
The judge who sentenced Brock Turner brought much-needed compassion to the bench, says public defender Sajid Khan.
The DOJ just gave $1 million to the New Orleans DA for rape kit testing, but advocates question whether real change can come to an office fighting allegations that it threatens, intimidates and jails rape and domestic violence victims.
Dispatches is our series from organizers, attorneys, officials, and others working at the frontlines of local criminal justice reform.
Melissa Gira Grant