I’m a Florida journalist who found out sheriff's deputies have been inappropriately clearing some rape cases
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?
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.