California police spent years covering up serial rape at homes for the disabled
I know the Newswire has been a huge downer this week, but when the world keeps being a huge downer what else can we do?
California police tasked with protecting developmentally disabled patients turned a blind eye to a pattern of sexual assault by their caregivers, according to an investigation by the independent journalism group California Watch. While there were 36 accusations of sexual abuse at state-run facilities for the disabled in the past four years, the Office of Protective Services — the specialized police force in charge of the facilities — routinely failed to take the basic steps necessary for a real investigation into the allegations. Most notably, they did not order a single rape kit in any one of the cases in question, even though the kits are “widely regarded as the best way to find evidence of sexual abuse:”
Without physical evidence, it can be nearly impossible to solve sex crimes, especially those committed against people with cerebral palsy and profound intellectual disabilities. In the three dozen cases of sexual abuse, documents obtained by California Watch reveal that patients suffered molestation, forced oral sex and vaginal lacerations. But for years, the state-run police force has moved so slowly and ineffectively that predators have stayed a step ahead of law enforcement or abused new victims, records show.
Much of the alleged sexual abuse in the California institutions has occurred at the Sonoma Developmental Center, where female patients have been repeatedly assaulted, internal incident records show. In one case, a caregiver was cleared by the police department of assault and went on to molest a second patient.