GREENPOINT — Outraged New Yorkers, including the mayor's office and an NYPD Deputy Commissioner, blasted a precinct captain who dismissed an uptick in area sex assaults as "not total-abomination rapes," with some calling for his ouster and saying his comments perpetuated hostility against rape victims.
Capt. Peter Rose, head of the 94th Precinct, told DNAinfo New York that while every rape should be investigated, the reported 62 percent increase in sex assaults was "not a trend that we're too worried about" because most of them were "acquaintance rapes."
He described the incidents, which he said involved Tinder dates and coworkers, as "not total-abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets" during a precinct community council meeting.
"If there's a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones," Rose told DNAinfo New York prior to the meeting. "That person has, like, no moral standards."
The mayor's office told DNAinfo that Rose's comments were not representative of the de Blasio administration or the NYPD.
“The comments by the Captain do not represent the views of the Mayor, our administration, or of an NYPD that is deeply committed to fighting for survivors of sexual assault," de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillps said.
"Rape is rape, in New York City and everywhere else. The crime merits no moral qualification and does not involve shades of criminality or degrees of danger. In New York City, rape is aggressively investigated and prosecuted blind to the nature of the underlying relationship, and with an absolute focus on obtaining justice for the survivor and safety for our neighborhoods.”
A high-ranking police official said Rose was "mortified" at the backlash and "completely misspoke" while trying to assure the community that the increase in sexual assaults was not tied to a serial rapist.
"Captain Rose was trying to tell a community that there was not anyone, like a serial rapist, hiding in the bushes waiting to attack women," the official said. "He completely misspoke, and was not trying to imply that one type of case, such as date rape, was not as important as another like a stranger on stranger case."
The official noted that Special Victims Unit detectives — and not Rose’s officers — conduct sex-crime investigations “and they take each and every one seriously.”
Rose, who is a well-regarded precinct commander, was already reaching out to local civic and political leaders to offer his apology for “not speaking more effectively” and to clarify his remarks, sources said
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis issued a statement saying: “Captain Rose's comments did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints. Every report of rape is thoroughly investigated by specially trained detectives in the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit.
"All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are committed by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers," he continued. "Due to the anonymous and random nature of rapes committed by strangers, detectives often face greater challenges in these types of crimes. Regardless, all sexual offenses are taken seriously."
Six city, state and U.S. politicians including Councilmen Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Senator Martin Dilan and State Senator Daniel Squadron called for Rose to make a public apology in a joint statement sent out Friday night.
The captain's statements sparked backlash from women's-rights advocates and other elected officials across social media Friday afternoon.
“Rape is a heinous and brutal crime that should be treated as such, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a stranger or known by the victim," said Public Advocate Leticia James, who called for better training of NYPD officers. "I am extremely disturbed and concerned by comments suggesting that stranger rapes are ‘the troubling ones.’"
Borough President Eric Adams sent out a string of tweets saying that "every rape's an abomination."
86 percent of #rape cases nationwide are acquaintance-based. We need to double down on efforts to arrest and prosecute those responsible.— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) January 6, 2017
“Rape is a crime — whether you know the rapist or not, whether you are on Tinder or not — and it is the responsibility of law enforcement to investigate, prosecute and hold rapists accountable for their crimes — period, full stop," said women's rights advocate Nita Chaudhary, founder of the advocacy group UltraViolet.
Posts on social media weren't quite so diplomatic.
RT @BenDWalsh: good god this is a disgusting statement from the NYPD https://t.co/6WYFrtJDfw pic.twitter.com/OvT82z0t3Z
— Black&Yellow #7 (@TDF4LIFE70) January 6, 2017
Many urged action, with Greenpoint neighborhood activist Emily Gallagher telling people on Facebook to call local city Councilman Stephen Levin's office.
Levin didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.
Many called for Rose to be fired.
Can we just all call the 94th precinct and gutturally scream into the phone until this failure of a human is fired? https://t.co/E1WLWwG4Po— Kasia Mychajlowycz (@xokasia) January 6, 2017