Hey, I’m Allison Ross of the Tampa Bay Times. I’ve been looking at how rape cases get cleared without an arrest, following a 2018 investigation by ProPublica, Newsy and Reveal.

When police have enough evidence to make an arrest but can't for reasons outside of their control, they can use the "exceptionally cleared" category.

From 2014-2018, the Pinellas sheriff's office reported more than 750 rapes to the state and feds. It said it cleared 440 cases, but only 111 ended in arrest — the rest were exceptionally cleared.

The agency said victims didn’t want to move forward. Experts say that isn’t unusual.

Looking at a random sample of those cases, I found some that were counted as cleared before authorities had investigated enough to make an arrest. Two experts reviewed a dozen files for the Times, and they found missed investigative opportunities and failures to meet best practices in handling sexual assault cases. For more, read the story here.

What do you want to know?

Proof

EDIT: Hey everyone, thanks for the insightful questions. I've got to take care of some other reporting work, but I'll check back in a few hours.

EDIT2: Amazing response; thank you all so much for your thoughts and questions. I need to step away again for work (it's 4 p.m. EST) but I'll be back again a little later.

FINAL EDIT: Wow, thanks for an incredible seven hours. I've got to sign out now, but thanks for everything. If you want to stay in touch, you can follow me on Twitter.

Comments: 1207 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

bikefried1305 karma

What has Pinellas County Sheriffs office said in response to your findings? “We’re looking into it”...is my guess.

orrfan1240 karma

We included several of the sheriff's comments in the story. He agreed that some of the cases had been exceptionally cleared when they should not have been, but said that's just an issue of coding. He also said this was an issue in the past, with some prior supervisors, but is not an issue any longer.

He said he is satisfied with the quality of his department’s rape investigations and called working on cases where victims don’t cooperate “a waste of time.”

He also said some of the cases his agency classified as exceptionally cleared would not even have been reported as rapes by other agencies, saying that his agency is at least reporting all the rape reports it gets.

ZzKRzZ59 karma

I can't understand how victims won't cooperate? But if/when they don't, I agree it's a waste if time.

LittleMissLovely1709 karma

Victim here - I've both reported and not reported. The one I reported (the first one), I followed through to prosecution. I had to relive my experience in front of so many people and as a teenager, it was horrifying. Ultimately he was sentenced to a few years and supposed to register as an offender but somehow was released in 6 months and came out "looking for me" and making threats. That experience alone made sure that I did not report the second incidence.

I had to repeat everything to drs, therapists, a judge, a whole room full of dudes recording my deposition, my mom, my grandparents, my little brother, etc only for him to be set free with a slap on the wrist (he ended up not having to register).

Following through isn't as easy as you'd think. Especially not when it could further destroy your life (re: threats, etc) on top of the PTSD it causes.

Everyone likes to say they'd follow through if it were them but until you've gone through it (and I hope you never do), its not really fair to look down on a lack of cooperation.

orrfan429 karma

Thanks for sharing your experience with the system.

orrfan111 karma

There are a number of reasons a person may not want to report or may not want to continue cooperating with a rape investigation, experts say. This document from the International Association of Chiefs of Police notes that things like the desire to put the assault behind them; frustration in repeating the details; pressure from family, friends, the suspect or others; or fear of not being believed are among potential reasons. https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/all/i-j/IACP%20Sexual%20Assault%20Response%20Policy%20and%20Training%20Content%20Guidelines.2017.3.23.pdf

bikefried-8 karma

[deleted]

orrfan16 karma

In federal statistics, cases that law enforcement agencies deem as unfounded are not included in the number of incidents. Cleared cases would not include unfounded cases.

As part of the FBI’s standardized Uniform Crime Reporting program, law enforcement agencies report their “clearances” for a number of serious crimes, including rape. The clearance rate is made up of both arrests and exceptional clearances, divided by the total number of reported crimes, excluding unfounded cases.

83jdbsna-13 karma

I mean if the victim can't possibly bear to face or give information on their attacker I think that's absolutely fair enough. "A waste of time" is a harsh way to put it, but it's absolutely right when there is such high a volume of attacks. That time is much better spent pursuing a predator whoms victim is actively helping the police.

Which way are you leaning on this? Are you a moderate journalist or do you have an Agenda? Do you believe there is a possibility that it actually could be as simple as a coding issue?

The way this reads implies these police officers are covering up some big conspiracy, I miss journalism that just gave the facts and let the readers decide how they feel about the article. These days every journo seems to just hound anyone they can for anything just to sell papers.

orrfan13 karma

My job is to provide the facts and readers can draw whatever conclusions they want. I don't have an agenda or leaning; I just want the public to know what their law enforcement agencies are doing.

alluptheass954 karma

Do other crimes get exceptionally cleared less frequently?

orrfan1223 karma

Yes, across the state of Florida as a whole, rape cases are more likely to be exceptionally cleared than crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, motor vehicle theft or burglary.

The arrest rate for rapes across Florida is lower than for murder, aggravated assault or robbery (which are considered the other violent crime categories).

Aberfrog191 karma

Are the roughly the same in other states ? Or is this a general problem with rape cases ?

orrfan213 karma

I can direct you to a 2018 national look at exceptionally cleared rape cases that was done by ProPublica, Newsy and Reveal: https://www.propublica.org/article/when-it-comes-to-rape-just-because-a-case-is-cleared-does-not-mean-solved

attempted-anonymity111 karma

My first thought on seeing this is that in my state the police use "exceptionally cleared" for nearly every delayed disclosure sex case. In my state, that category gets used when the police forward the case to the district attorneys office and the DA makes the decision whether to move forward with charges. It has absolutely no bearing on whether the case is going to move forward in the criminal justice system, it just means a lawyer is going to make the call instead of a cop.

Based on OP's statements, it sounds like that's not how the term is used in Florida and that's not what's going on there. So asking how other states compare in terms of how frequently "exceptionally cleared" gets used is a bad comparison because even though the same terminology is being used, it can mean entirely different things in other states.

orrfan148 karma

Hi, the "exceptionally cleared" category has been around since the 1930s, when crime statistics began being tracked nationally. It's defined at the federal level. It's meant for cases that police have investigated enough to make an arrest but something stops them for doing so. Examples would be: the suspect has died, prosecutors won't take the case, or the suspect has been identified but the victim won’t help prosecutors make the case.

In order for a case to be exceptionally cleared, law enforcement agencies must have been able to:

  1. Definitively establish the identity of the offender;
  2. Gather enough evidence to support an arrest, make a charge and turn the offender over to the court for prosecution;
  3. Know the offender’s exact location so the suspect could be taken immediately into custody;
  4. Encounter a circumstance outside law enforcement control that precludes arresting, charging and prosecuting the offender.

Please note the exceptionally cleared cases count toward an agency's clearance rate, which is commonly seen as a way to understand how well law enforcement agencies are solving cases.

Legit_a_Mint4 karma

Sounds to me like they're clearing cases in which the victim has indicated she won't cooperate with prosecution regardless of the circumstances. That seems pretty typical.

orrfan2 karma

Hi, thanks for your thoughts. You're right that it's not uncommon for victims to decide not to move forward. But if the case is cleared exceptionally instead of, say, being made inactive or closed internally, it counts toward an agency's clearance rate, which is seen by many as a way to understand how well agencies are solving cases.

I hope my explanation makes sense!

dcviper256 karma

I read the title and thought "I bet it's the Tampa Bay Times".

Which makes me wonder, is the Times the best paper in the state, more willing to engage in Reddit, or both?

I don't recall seeing AMAs from Miami Herald reporters, and I couldn't name any other papers in Florida. The Sun-Times sticks in my head, but that's a Chicago paper.

At any rate, thanks for the work you do! It's important,

orrfan245 karma

Hey! I reached out to our engagement producer, Ashley Dye, for their take:

Thank you for that praise! When I shifted to overseeing our social media a few months ago, I wanted to continue improving the Times' relationship with redditors. Luckily, the newsroom sees how valuable it can be to have discussions with y'all, especially in AMAs, to a) learn some pretty cool and thoughtful stuff from the community and b) show how we do our work so we're even more transparent. The reporters, even the ones who hadn't really checked out Reddit before, come away feeling grateful for the experience. Definitely expect to see us more.

Anyway, I remember the Miami Herald doing an AMA about a year ago, and the South Florida Sun Sentinel did one back in December. I hope they, too, do more on here — plenty of Florida newspapers do solid work worth reading. I'm biased to the Times (and our newspaper does say "Florida's best" lol), but I also love to see others thrive, too — that benefits everyone.

AngierCutterBorden146 karma

I'm curious: Are most of the detectives who investigated these cases men? And has anyone in the course of your reporting suggested that detective bureaus, particularly crimes against persons divisions, should be more diverse gender-wise -- that maybe that would help address problems like these? I'm also wondering if anyone has suggested rape cases should be assigned to another group of detectives altogether -- detectives who specialize in that crime and aren't distracted by homicides, robberies, missing children cases, etc. Thank you for the AMA and for this story.

orrfan180 karma

Hi, thank you for the questions. Sheriff Gualtieri said he tries to ensure there are some female detectives in the robbery/homicide unit (which is the unit that handles adult rape cases), saying he thinks that helps. From what we heard from some experts, the issue is more about what sort of training investigators receive on how to deal with these kinds of cases.

Kimokarmen107 karma

Any comment from Hillsborough SO? I noticed their statistics closely resemble those of Pinellas. Also, was there any research on statistics of untested rape kits in Pinellas/Hillsborough?

orrfan99 karma

We are continuing to look at this topic and are continuing to ask questions and look at documents.

My focus has not, to date, been on untested rape kits, but again, we are continuing to follow up and look into this topic.

Sarahlorien67 karma

As someone who had this happen to my rape case in Tampa in 2013, is there any recovery here?

orrfan73 karma

Hi, I'd be interested to learn more about your case, if you're interested in sharing more with me. My email is [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).

I will note that just because a case is counted as cleared does not mean that it must stay that way. Unless the statute of limitations has run out, the case can be reopened.

Jablu34543 karma

Did you ever speak to ex cop Mark Dougan? What is the culture like in Tampa?

Sarahlorien57 karma

I lived in Tampa for 6 years, I felt the culture was very "engage me appropriately or get out of my way," very dominant-seeking. The cops I encountered (as well as stories from friends) were almost always extremely aggressive even for minor instances expressing that you're wasting their time if you don't have hard-proof evidence and 5 people pointing fingers. When I called the non-emergency police phone to report a rape from 2 weeks before, they asked if I had physical evidence and I said no, they hung up. Twice.

orrfan4 karma

Hello, I'd like to hear more about your experience. If you are interested in telling me a bit more, I'd love to connect. My email is [email protected].

orrfan51 karma

Hi, I did not speak to Mark Dougan for this story.
We are continuing to report on this topic and are looking at what is going on in other agencies across the state. Thank you for the questions!

BlintzKriegBop40 karma

Is there any sort of database that can track the results of rape kit tests? Wouldn't something like this give more definitive proof of serial rapists? It seems like every woman knows at least one rapist, but men seem to know none. This would help women exponentially.

orrfan63 karma

My story was focused more on exceptional clearances, but I did speak with Rachel Lovell, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University who has looked at the testing of backlogged rape kits and used that to find that the prevalence of serial rapists is more common than what some previous research has suggested.

MTBisLIFE40 karma

Hi, there. What counties have the cases you've sampled been from? Are they from one specific or multiple? Which counties concern you the most?

orrfan57 karma

Hi, there, this story that we published focuses only on the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. However, we have been and will continue to look at exceptionally cleared cases to try to understand what happens with cleared rape cases that don't end in arrest.
I'd also note that I'm not the only reporter looking at this topic. As mentioned above, my work is following that of a collaboration by ProPublica, Newsy and Reveal.
Here is an example of another piece that was done by a journalist in Louisville, Kentucky, looking at their local police department: https://kycir.org/2019/12/05/prosecution-declined/?_ga=2.113890947.509553286.1575638469-1071453218.1575638468

memesupreme8339 karma

Have you been able to reach out to any of the victims or is all that information classified?

orrfan48 karma

Victims' names were redacted in the reports the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office provided. I did profile the story of one woman, Alicia, throughout the article.

MrMiyamoto29 karma

How (or is) this investigation related to the similar one in Kentucky covered by the podcast Dig?

https://wfpl.org/category/podcasts/dig/

orrfan31 karma

Good question; I mentioned that piece in a different comment (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/epkk3d/im_a_florida_journalist_who_found_out_sheriffs/fek30aq/)
I'm not the only reporter looking at exceptionally cleared rape cases. It appears that different law enforcement agencies may use that category in different ways, though.

cthulhuassassin26 karma

do you think that, overall, this report just adds to the case that police need better/reformed/longer training? or as another comment mentioned, a new unit altogether to handle special cases like these under different guidelines than the ones already set? Do you think they did this in good faith or to get paper work off their desks?

orrfan34 karma

Based on what some experts told me, training is an issue in many law enforcement agencies. I can't speak to whether there ought to be a specialized unit to handle these cases.

Tank_Girl_Gritty_23524 karma

Do you think a type of mediator between police and victims would help? They'd preferably be a trained mental health worker or crisis counselor who could explain how the evidence was progressing. The desired goal would be getting them to follow through with the court system by validating the victim's feelings and helping with mentally healing/handling the trauma.

orrfan29 karma

Hi, there are people who are victim advocates who can play this role, if I understand you correctly. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has two victim advocates; the sheriff said most of the cases they handle are domestic violence cases. He said his victim advocates don't often get called out to the scene.
Rape crisis centers or other places may also have victim advocates that victims can turn to.

There's also something called Sexual Assault Response Teams. There's one in Pinellas: https://pinellascountysart.weebly.com/

Verbenablu20 karma

Have you recieved any threats from police for bringing this to light?

orrfan23 karma

No, I have not.

Smegma-Toothpaste16 karma

I was falsely accused of rape with overwhelming evidence showing my innocence, despite this evidence, I was still charged with the crime and spent $25,000 on a lawyer. As soon as the D.A looked the the evidence, the charges w'ere dropped. How do you feel about case's where the accusations are clearly false but over-zealous police will arrest anyway? The bar for arrest and charging is apparently very low, this still triggers a chain of events that cost the accused thousands. How many of these cases were simply obviously not something that would actually make it to court if the facts are reviewed objectively?

orrfan18 karma

Hello, I can't speak to your case.

None of the exceptionally cleared cases I reviewed ended in arrest (or else they would have been coded as cleared by arrest rather than exceptionally cleared). I hope this helps answer your question.

tjmille314 karma

As a gay man that lives in the Tampa area this is very interesting. My question is how many of these cleared cases were male victims?

orrfan31 karma

I reviewed only a random sample of exceptionally cleared cases from 2014-2018, so I could not give you a definitive number, but I did see some male victims among the cases I reviewed.

skepticalbob14 karma

My wife is in the position to know the ins and outs of the system here locally and her take is that the police, prosecutors, and judges don't have the resources and personnel to actually do a thorough job i.e. if they actually did robust investigations for every case they'd run out of resources to investigate and prosecute every assault. So in her opinion they "triage" and marshal their resources. This leads to a situation where the investigators and prosecutors personal biases infect the process and the focus is on stranger assaults, children, and other higher profile cases, where more typical rapes (intoxicated acquaintance assaults) get left out. These are the most frequent "type" of assaults.

Is that your take as well?

As an aside, we need an army of journalists doing this kind of work to hold the government's feet to the fire about these issues. Thank you for doing this.

orrfan8 karma

Thank you for sharing this. If your wife is interested in chatting with me a bit about her experiences, my email is [email protected].

bi_polar2bear14 karma

Great article, and glad that Tampa continues to support investigative journalism and getting out to the world. My question is, did the sheriff detail the training that the detectives go through? Did he comment on getting more training?

I'd have to imagine that Hillsborough, Polk, and others nearby are gearing up to field questions about this from TBT and local news channels.

orrfan12 karma

Hello, yes, we spoke to the sheriff about specialized training. He said his agency has no requirement for investigators to have any specialized training in handling sexual assault cases, but that some investigators do get extra training. He also noted that there is on-the-job training, where more experienced detectives will work with others.

po-leece13 karma

Police officer here. Thanks for your reporting.

From personal experience, I can tell you sexual assault investigations are amongst the most challenging. Especially historical cases where there is no forensic evidence.

I'm curious to see the specific cases you've mentioned and why the arrests are as low as you've reported. I wonder how much of it is lack of evidence and how much is a lack of investigation. I have unfortunately seen both of these things. Sometimes the victim will disclose the occurrence to a friend or family member, who then makes the report, then when police arrive, the victim recants or refuses to provide a statement. It's about as difficult an investigation as one could get. Sexual assaults by strangers for comparison are very easy to investigate, but familial sexual assaults have many challenges for both victims and investigators.

From what you've seen, what do you think is the primary reasons for this?

orrfan9 karma

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm not a law enforcement official, but I think you're right that these cases are tough. Experts and advocates I spoke with noted that rape cases pose special challenges. A lack of consent can be difficult to prove. Shame and fear and stigma can keep victims from cooperating. But they say such barriers are why rape investigations require extra care, and why training on things like trauma-informed practices could help. I'm sure none of what I just wrote is a surprise to you, though.

bombsbulletsandbooze10 karma

Ms Ross, interesting article. However, two points I feel missed are; First. Police do not get to choose what cases prosecution is started or followed up on. Unlike police, Prosecutors (local, state and federal) are graded on their win/ loss records. This is especially problematic in Florida and the Federal systems causing prosecutors to only be willing to proceed with “low hanging fruit”. Sexual assault cases are rarely such. So it becomes a case of “judicial economics” for investigators. Given shrinking budgets, killing overtime and hiring. Anti police sentiment chasing away seasoned cops and recruits alike and the CSI effect making juries believe there should be masses of science in the court, there simply is not the time or personal to do the job correctly. Am I defending, NO! But this is the reality that the media should not ignore in the chase for a story.

Second; the “two experts” you used for background, one unnamed and one from Army CID. The Army has a long and notorious reputation for lack of prosecutions and failure the few times they do charge. (See the DoD report on sexual assault in the military.) By simply using experts that have “research or investigations” on their resume to bolster your story is of poor journalistic quality.

In closing, can law enforcement do better? Sure! Does media hatchet jobs of the poor men and women trying help the situation? I think not.

orrfan18 karma

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Most of the exceptionally cleared cases I reviewed from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office never made it to the prosecutor's office.

Regarding the experts who reviewed some cases at the Times' request: both are named in the story. One is Anne Munch, a former Colorado prosecutor and consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice. The other is Russell Strand, the retired criminal investigator with the U.S. Army that you mentioned. Strand is now a consultant who has helped train law enforcement officials (including some in Florida) to investigate rapes.

GeriatricHeartbreak9 karma

What is your personal reasoning for not using the Oxford comma?

orrfan28 karma

In general, AP Style, which many reporters adhere to, suggests omitting the comma unless it could lead to confusion or misinterpretation: https://twitter.com/apstylebook/status/907673471865507841?lang=en

twistytwisty8 karma

Did the sheriff better explain what he meant by they report more things as rape than others? I know he mentioned false reports, but I'm confused by this. He thinks he's providing quality data to be recorded, but admitting the data is faulty because they're reporting something as a rape that shouldn't be categorized as a rape? I would imagine there are guidelines, presumably following the legal definitions of what differentiates a rape from a sexual assault from a physical assault from a .... whatever.... so if he's not following those guidelines then his data is muddied.

orrfan13 karma

Hi, good question. Yes, the sheriff was referring at least in part to cases where law enforcement shows up and the victim immediately or very quickly does not want to cooperate. He pointed to some other agencies' policies of coding those cases as (as an example) an information report rather than a report of a rape.
There are guidelines for how cases should be reported/counted. We are still looking into this topic.

Mamlucky8 karma

Thank you for your work!

Did you ever fear for your safety or life while pursuing this?

orrfan9 karma

No, I did not.

bikeonbus7 karma

Does it seem to you Pinellas investigators treat sex crime victims different from other victims in general? Like the victims have to prove themselves before they can get a detective's attention?

orrfan2 karma

I only reviewed a random sampling of exceptionally cleared rape cases, so I cannot say how other types of cases are handled. As I mentioned in a different comment, one of the experts who reviewed some cases for the Times did note some examples of good quality investigative work but also noted missed investigative opportunities and some other issues.

I hope this answers your question?

johnsmithsmitha147 karma

The detectives make a decision does someone review the decision? Do they do an audit of these decisions as well?

orrfan6 karma

The sheriff told me that the sergeant of the unit is in charge of clearing cases. He said a lieutenant may look at some, but not all, cases.

My review found a couple case files where the detectives specifically noted in the file that the case did not meet the criteria for exceptional closure, but then the case was exceptionally cleared anyway. When I brought these cases to the sheriff's attention, the sheriff said the two sergeants listed on those two cases "screwed up." He noted that both those sergeants are now in different roles in the agency.

danethegreat245 karma

What is the piece you have worked on that you are most proud of? Is it this one? Why?

orrfan6 karma

Good question, but I'm not sure I can pick the answer!

FarleyFinster4 karma

Have you found any indication that any significant number of these cases involve members of or are in any other way influenced by Scientology?

The TB Times remains one of the few US papers employing enough serious journalists to be considered respectable and even a "paper of record."

orrfan3 karma

Thank you. This story pertains only to cases I reviewed from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. From what I recall, none of the sheriff's office case files I reviewed mentioned Scientology, but that's as far as I can answer your question.

trubbimane4 karma

Did any of these “cleared” cases involve police officers / deputies as the alleged perpetrators?

orrfan3 karma

No, none of the randomly selected cases I reviewed from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office included law enforcement officers as the suspect.

emmiebe183 karma

What would be your suggestion to prevent this issue moving forward?

Also I appreciate your time and effort in compiling this article

orrfan5 karma

Thank you. I can't give suggestions, but one expert who reviewed some of these cases suggested more/updated training, doing away with non-prosecution forms and increasing the use of victim advocacy resources, among other suggestions.

the_eric3 karma

I used to live in Pinellas County. Do you plan on doing any reporting about the abuse of Scientology members?

orrfan10 karma

Hello, I forwarded your question to Tracey McManus, our reporter who covers Scientology. Here's her reply:

The Tampa Bay Times has a long legacy of investigating allegations of fraud and abuse in Scientology. Our newspaper's reporting goes back to 1975, when Scientology arrived in Clearwater, and continues today. In 2009 we published the groundbreaking Truth Rundown series, which detailed abuses in the high ranks of Scientology's leadership. Those stories spanned over years, but you can read the three main parts here: https://www.tampabay.com/special-reports/2019/10/17/scientology-the-truth-rundown/ Our coverage of Scientology continues today. We recently published an investigation showing how Scientology secretly purchased most of the retail property in downtown Clearwater right as the city was developing a revitalization plan. https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2019/investigations/scientology-clearwater-real-estate/

johnsmithsmitha143 karma

Is there a racial angle like are these cases the cases of white men?

orrfan6 karma

I did not notice any clear trend related to the race of the suspects.

amandapandab3 karma

Have you ever looked into Florida college rape statistics? I go to a state university and they are required to report with the clery act any reported assaults , even if they aren’t convicted. For my school it’s separated by campus, and my campus is very small and last years report had fewer reported rapes/assaults than I had personal knowledge of (and the victims DID report it). It could be because of the dates of reporting falling outside the reporting period but I find it hard to believe the number is as low as reported considering the problems I’ve seen here. Apparently they can omit if it is found to be completely unfounded? But I can’t seem to understand how they determine that, without blatantly dismissing reports to lower their stats. Do you know anything about the clery act and reporting on college campuses?

orrfan4 karma

Hi, I'd love to chat a little bit more about your experience. My email is [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) if you'd like to connect that way?

el_osoalto3 karma

Hey Allison! I'm a college student studying journalism and working with my university paper and I had a question about open records.

I have experience with filing requests for records but I'm wondering if there are tehniques that you may use in order to make the most of it.

Also, any tips for going through the internship process? Thanks!

orrfan4 karma

Hello, you are more than welcome to reach out to me with your questions at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). I'd love to chat further.

uniquesarcasm2 karma

Are you planning on broadening the scope of your investigation? Rape is hardly the only thing that their covering up but thank you for bringing this to the light i live in pinellas and everyone around here considers it a really piss poor Department

orrfan10 karma

As mentioned in some earlier comments, we are continuing to report on this topic.

If there is something you'd like to share with me, my email is [email protected].

mylittlesyn2 karma

Have you looked into any other counties?

orrfan3 karma

We are continuing to look into this issue, including what's going on in some other law enforcement agencies.

FrankWestIRL0 karma

I'm confused.

Are these closed closed because the officer just wants to close them, for whatever reason, or because the victim said not to pursue any further?

orrfan1 karma

In the majority of the cases I reviewed, the case was cleared because investigators said the victims declined to cooperate. Under federal rules, law enforcement agencies are allowed to exceptionally clear cases if the victim won't cooperate with the prosecution, but cases can only be exceptionally cleared if law enforcement has already identified and located the suspect and has enough evidence to charge the suspect with a crime and turn the case over to prosecutors. Otherwise, the case can't be counted as successfully cleared.

We found a number of cases that were counted as successfully cleared when they shouldn't have been; for instance, we found dozens that were cleared even though no suspect had yet been identified.

iamrubberyouareglue8-1 karma

What are the religious affiliations of the perpetrators vs victims. Is there any correlation to religion or cult in the two groups?

orrfan7 karma

I reviewed only a random sample of PCSO's exceptionally cleared cases from 2014-2018, but I don't recall reading much about religious affiliations in the reports. I'd have to double-check, though.

drmcmahon-2 karma

Was it a certain or specific part of Pinellas that was affected by this?

orrfan3 karma

We looked at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Darkangel3834-2 karma

Experts said it was unusual for victims not wanting to continue with the process? Doesn't that go against the widely accepted fact that majority of rapes are not reported and the ones that are rarely will follow through the entire process?

orrfan9 karma

Experts say it is NOT unusual.

You're right; experts say that rape is an under-reported crime.