A new unit will investigate the high-profile claims of sex abuse victims now coming forward, years after the attacks, the NYPD said Friday.
“We have developed a team within the Special Victims Division just to look at these instances…because they’re coming up almost daily,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “But we have to look to see if it’s within the statute (of limitations), see when these crimes occurred, talk to our components in the prosecutor’s office around the city, wherever they may have happened, and see if we can go forward.”
He said “Right now we have this specialized unit handling high-profile cases, but they handle others as well.”
Even if the statute of limitations has expired, Boyce said, detectives will still investigate because “that can lead to other things, as well.”
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The formation of the new team of investigators comes as the NYPD has begun looking at allegations by seven women who claim they were sexually abused or raped by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons.
The NYPD has also for weeks been investigating a claim by actress Paz de la Huerta that movie producer Harvey Weinstein, raped her in 2010.
Boyce has already said de la Huerta has “put forth a credible and detailed narrative” to detectives.
The Simmons probe, he cautioned, was just beginning.
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“Just because we’re looking into it doesn’t mean we’ve opened an investigation,” he said. “We are of: an investigation is possible.”
“Yes, we’re looking into it,” he added. “No, we haven’t opened cases into all these things.”
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But “each time something comes up we take a look and we talk about it,” he said.
Boyce spoke to reporters after a “human justice summit” in a Staten Island church, with Police Commissioner James O’Neill talking to residents and community leaders about how the NYPD is trying to improve relations with the public and deal with persistent issues, such as incidents involving the mentally ill and how police deal with detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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New York, however, is a sanctuary city and doesn’t honor such requests unless they include a judicial warrant and an offender with a felony conviction within the previous five years.
“This year so far in 2017 we got more than 1,400 detainers,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Lawrence Byrne. “These are requests from ICE for us to hold people and turn them over.
“We’ve honored zero of those detainees,” he added, as those in attendance applauded.
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ELLEN MOYNIHAN, ROCCO PARASCANDOLA