Former SVU prosecutor says Berkshire DA office handling of rape case “a travesty”
To the Editor:
I am an attorney, admitted to the bar for forty-five years, and write in regard to the race for District Attorney.
I am an expert in crimes of sexual violence. I spent 26 of my 30 years as a prosecutor in the office of the Manhattan District Attorney in New York City leading the country’s pioneering Special Victims’ Unit. During that time, I oversaw the investigation and prosecution of every case of sexual assault in that county. I evaluated more than 15,000 cases for the purpose of making a determination about prosecution. I personally took several dozen of those matters to verdict at trial. I continue to work as a lawyer in this specialized field, often helping victims gain access to a criminal justice system which has denied them entry for so many decades. I have also been qualified by courts all over this country as an expert.
Recently, I was asked to evaluate an investigation that had been conducted by the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, concerning a sexual assault that occurred on the campus of Williams College.
The Berkshire County DA’s investigation of that assault was a travesty. It failed to follow and complete the most basic protocols for every step in the procedure: victim interviews, witness examinations, forensic testing, and the preservation of forensic evidence. By way of example, the prosecutors made their decision to decline the case even before the state laboratory announced its findings, which included evidence of the perpetrator’s wrongdoing.
It is for that reason I urge voters to choose Andrea Harrington, who has great experience in the criminal justice arena, to be the next District Attorney.