Inspector General: NOPD misclassified dozens of rape cases - - The News for South Mississippi

Inspector General: NOPD misclassified dozens of forcible rape cases

An audit report, a year in the making, slams the NOPD for what Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux calls an institutional problem classifying rapes.

"Our public certainly needs crime data. They have a strong interest in that," said Quatrevaux.

The Inspector General's audit sampled 90 random cases between June of 2010 and May of 2013.

Of the 90 cases, Quatrevaux says 41 of them were misclassified.

He says 7 were misclassified as sexual battery, which is a charge that does not get reported to the FBI.

34 others were misclassified as miscellaneous or unfounded, but Quatrevaux says they were actual rapes.

Chief Ronal Serpas is disputing the IG's general findings.

"An unmistakable fact is that in the last 4 years of our time, we have reported 70 percent more sexual assaults to the state of Louisiana, following the rules as we believe they should be followed," Serpas said.

Serpas says internal reviews and external audits by other agencies, failed to show any pattern or practice on the part of the NOPD to downgrade the reporting of crime.

"The state experts who are charged to determine how the uniformed crime reports are submitted, supported us overwhelmingly in our classification and investigating of rapes," said Serpas.

Quatrevaux, though, believes there are a lot of violations of NOPD policies, like reports not being filled out in a timely manner or missing supplemental reports explaining why a case is re-classified.

Serpas says he knows there's room to get better but he believes the department has come a long way, pointing to extra training.

Quatrevaux says he doesn't believe the NOPD intentionally under-reported rape statistics.

"I don't really think anyone's manipulating the numbers to make them go up or go down. There's no indication of that," Quartrevaux said.

He still wants change and he vowing to conduct a thorough audit of NOPD rape cases each year moving forward.

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