NYC: Deputy Police Commissioner apologizes for helping discredit 1994 rape victim

NYPD Logo. (Leonard Zhukovsky/

NEW YORK (AP) 01/13 — A New York City police official apologized Friday to a rape victim he helped discredit almost 24 years ago.

Deputy Commissioner John Miller said in a statement sent to the woman’s lawyer that he was wrong to tell reporters that police doubted the woman’s account of being raped in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Police said this week that they had finally solved the crime by matching DNA found on the victim to a serial rapist who is in prison for other attacks.

Miller, then the chief police spokesman, told reporters in 1994 that detectives believed there were inconsistencies in the woman’s story.

Miller said in his apology that “Inappropriately sharing this information, which was the speculation of investigators, and ultimately proved to be incorrect, was a serious misjudgment on my part.” He added, “It re-victimized a person who was already the victim of a terrible crime. I sincerely apologize to her for that.”

The woman’s attorney, Martin Garbus, said Miller’s apology was not enough.

“Miller and the police did not make a bookkeeping mistake,” Garbus said in an email to The Associated Press. “The police because of racism and sexism abused Jane Doe and called an honest woman a liar and hoaxer.”

The woman, now 51 years old, is African-American. The Associated Press does not generally identify victims of sexual assault.

Miller, now the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, was a source for Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, who wrote that police believed the attack was a “hoax.”

McAlary wrote at the time that police sources had told him that the woman invented her story because she wanted to bolster a speech she was to give at a rally about violence against lesbians.

“The woman, who will probably end up being arrested herself, invented the crime, they said, to promote her rally,” McAlary wrote in a column called “Rape hoax the real crime.”

The woman sued McAlary for libel but a judge dismissed the case in part because McAlary had been relying on information from police. McAlary died in 1998.

The woman was raped in Prospect Park while walking home with groceries on April 26, 1994. Police released a sketch based on her description of the attacker, but no arrests were made.

The Police Department announced Tuesday that modern DNA analysis methods had led to a match with serial rapist Edward Webb, who is serving 75 years to life in prison.

Webb had been charged with 10 other rapes over several decades. He told police he denied raping the woman in the 1994 case.

The woman said in a statement released by her Garbus, that she was grateful that Webb was finally brought to justice.

She said being called a liar by police sources “had a silencing effect on me, to say the least. I paid a terrible, terrible price for my #MeToo.”

She added that “stories of assault are still discounted; cases are not vigorously prosecuted. Schools and workplaces deal with sexual assaults as internal disciplinary matters instead of as what they are — crimes.”

In the statement, which came hours before Miller’s apology, she called for apologies from him and from the NYPD and the Daily News.

The statements by Miller and the woman were first reported in the New York Post.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Arrests, Forensics/DNA Evidence, Media, Misconduct/Abuse of Authority, Police, Sexual Assault/Sexual Misconduct, Victims of Crime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 + five =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.