In light of revelations of the mishandling of rape cases in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), the City Council on Friday announced it will convene an emergency oversight hearing in the coming weeks.
Reports indicate that more than 800 rape cases may have been wrongly handled, resulting in the submission of erroneous reports that damaged the criminal justice process.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, “The mishandling of rape cases is making double victims of women who have already suffered an indescribably horrific event. We cannot allow these women to wonder if their attacker remains free or to go one more day without knowing justice was served in their case. We must to everything in our power to resolve this matter. At our hearings, the council will conduct comprehensive oversight – no question will remain unanswered and every victim will know her case has not been ignored.”
“Victims of heinous crimes like rape rely upon our Medical Examiner’s office to provide thorough and accurate test results, I look forward to our emergency oversight hearing and the chance to help to ensure this never happens again,“ said Jessica Lappin, co-chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus.
Brooklyn Councilwomen Letitia James, Darlene Mealy and Diana Reyna are members of the Women’s Caucus.
“This is an unacceptable and offensive result for the victims of such heinous and brutal assaults against their personhood. At a minimum, we owe each victim a full investigation and accounting of what happened followed by the re-opening of criminal prosecutions when a second look at the evidence warrants it.
“Looking forward, we must take comprehensive steps to ensure that transgressions of this scope never occur again and that any future instances of human error are detected and rectified in a more timely and judicious manner,” noted Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, co-chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus.
The Council’s hearing will be held by the Committee on Health, chaired by Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo. It will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.