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Police Commissioner O'Neill Sounds Off On NYPD Captain's 'Insensitive' Rape Comments

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Police Commissioner James O'Neill spoke out Tuesday out after an NYPD captain made comments about rape that he has since apologized for.

As CBS2's Raegan Medgie reported, demonstrators said the apology by Capt. Peter Rose was not enough.

Rose, of the 94th Precinct, was speaking at a community council meeting last week when he made comments drawing a distinction between "true stranger rapes" and other kinds of rape.

Rose told the crowd the bulk of the recent sex attacks in the 94th precinct were "not total abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the street," according to a report by DNAInfo. "If there's a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger of the street. Those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards."

The NYPD put distance between themselves and Rose's remarks, saying in a statement last Friday "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 trailed detectives in the NYPD's Special Victims Unit. All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers."

The flap prompted Rose to issue an apology on Twitter Monday.

"I deeply regret the statements I made last week about rape. I failed to communicate how I respond to reports of rape, and the actions the Department as a whole takes. My comments were not meant to minimize the seriousness of sexual assault," Rose wrote. "Every rape, whether it is perpetrated by a stranger or someone known to them is fully investigated. We make no distinction in our response. My comments suggested otherwise and for that I apologize."

The National Organization for Women-NYC staged a protest outside the the 94th precinct Tuesday morning.

"That comment was, so wrong," said Krista Chambers of Williamsburg.

"Rape is rape, no matter who the victim is, no matter who the perpetrator is," said Sonia Ossorio of the NOW-NYC.

"This captain said something out loud that far too many law enforcement officials believe and put into practice," said Jane Manning, Director of Women's Justice NOW's Take Rape Seriously campaign. "This means worse treatment for victims who report sex crimes to the police, less effort and fewer resources devoted to investigating sex crimes, and higher chances that sexual predators will get away with their crimes so that they can attack."

A blue barrier and the street was all that separated the group of protesters from police in the 94th Precinct. One of the protesters has remarks for the NYPD.

"It's not that we're attacking the police," said Melissa Quesinberry of the NOW-NYC. "We want the police to protect and serve us. That's they're job. That's what we want. We want that and we need that."

In the Daily News, Commissioner O'Neill said the comments "for which [Rose] has already publicly apologized, were certainly insensitive."

"He tried to draw a distinction between victims raped by strangers and those raped by people known to them. That left the misleading and inaccurate impression that the NYPD treats these types of cases differently, when taking reports, interviewing victims, conducting investigations or apprehending perpetrators," O'Neill wrote. "We do not, as either a matter of policy or practice."

For Izabela Dabkokwska, the captain's comment struck a deep chord. She is a rape survivor.

"I'm so shocked about it," said Dabkowska, of Maspeth, Queens. "A rape is a rape, and it's so hurtful for physical and for the person who was raped, it's with them their entire life."

The protesters said they contacted O'Neill, asking to sit down and talk with him about better ways to handle reports of rape.

The NYPD said reports of rape are handled by specially-trained detectives with the Special Victims Unit.

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