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Nononana
05-11-2013, 04:48 AM
Ok, I'll try to ask these questions without getting too wordy.

Currently I am writing a scene where a crime was reported. A young female claims to have been assaulted in her home (crime is of a sexual nature). When the crime is over, she first calls her boyfriend who comes over, spends some time with her and they call the police. A little background: this is what they are claiming, the truth is they are using a smaller incident (breaking an entering) to frame someone for a much larger crime (battery, assault, etc.)

The next scene is what I want to make sure I am being accurate with because I want to make sure it is realistic and most of what I know about crime solving is from TV.

1) Would there be a lot of cops/evidence collection in the apartment? The crime commited would involve holding someone against their will, sexual assault, battery, assault with a weapon.

2) Would it be okay to assume that first police officers would take a statement followed by a detective coming to the scene to then asking the victim some further questions or to go over the story again?

3) When the detective asks to speak to the young lady alone due to the sensitivity of the topic, and she insists her boyfriend stay. Would that be opposed by the detective?

4) If while talking the the female, the detective gets a sixth sense that something is "off" with her boyfriend and that there might be more to the story than they are offering, would it be out of line for him to start asking the boyfriend questions? Secondly, would it be out of line for him to ask some tough/prying questions with the female/victim right there?

Sorry if these are a lot of questions, but this scene is central to how they may (or may not) pull off the setup and I want to make sure it is believable as far as procedures go.

cornflake
05-11-2013, 07:02 AM
Ok, I'll try to ask these questions without getting too wordy.

Currently I am writing a scene where a crime was reported. A young female claims to have been assaulted in her home (crime is of a sexual nature). When the crime is over, she first calls her boyfriend who comes over, spends some time with her and they call the police. A little background: this is what they are claiming, the truth is they are using a smaller incident (breaking an entering) to frame someone for a much larger crime (battery, assault, etc.)

The next scene is what I want to make sure I am being accurate with because I want to make sure it is realistic and most of what I know about crime solving is from TV.

1) Would there be a lot of cops/evidence collection in the apartment? The crime commited would involve holding someone against their will, sexual assault, battery, assault with a weapon.

2) Would it be okay to assume that first police officers would take a statement followed by a detective coming to the scene to then asking the victim some further questions or to go over the story again?

3) When the detective asks to speak to the young lady alone due to the sensitivity of the topic, and she insists her boyfriend stay. Would that be opposed by the detective?

4) If while talking the the female, the detective gets a sixth sense that something is "off" with her boyfriend and that there might be more to the story than they are offering, would it be out of line for him to start asking the boyfriend questions? Secondly, would it be out of line for him to ask some tough/prying questions with the female/victim right there?

Sorry if these are a lot of questions, but this scene is central to how they may (or may not) pull off the setup and I want to make sure it is believable as far as procedures go.

You have kind of a basic problem with your scenario - you've got a claim of a sexual assault, they're taking her to the hospital where a rape kit can be done.

In a general sense, responding cops who figure out what's going on aren't taking statements, they're just calling it in and securing the scene.

As to evidence collection, depends on what they're claiming happened there and the size of the department really.

Nononana
05-11-2013, 08:59 AM
This scene is in its infancy so nothing is set in stone. I originally have it outlined with her going to the hospital immediately after speaking to a detective to do a rape kit (as far as how the accusers are going to address that, there is a backstory). So they would immediately make her leave and do the rape kit first, then question her at the hospital? I can do it in that order, but I want to make sure that this is consistently how it would be done.

Person calls cops--->cops arrive, take a report, secure the scene-->immediately take her to the hospital.

Would a detective then visit her at the hospital?

BradyH1861
05-11-2013, 05:08 PM
Typically yes. She would be interviewed initially at the hospital. Upon her release, at some point she would be asked to come in and give a formal statement.

I would not want the boyfriend present for two reasons. First, she might hold back on some of the details which could be important. Second, he doesn't need to hear what she is going to have to describe. (Assuming that they are telling the truth, of course.)

Nononana
05-11-2013, 07:13 PM
Thank you. If she insisted on her boyfriend being present, would you allow it?

Bing Z
05-11-2013, 08:58 PM
I'm not in law or law enforcement business. But I've a few "food for thoughts" for you, Nina.

a) The detective (who's he, where he's from) may also vary depending where your story is set and exactly what kind of "sexual assault" it is. A grope? Or a rape? NYPD, for example, has SVU to investigate rape & other serious sex crimes. My town, they may only have a few detectives investigating everything from cat abuse to serial murders.

b) If she's not raped, she won't want to do a rape kit. They'll know she's lying. But my guess is in this case if she won't do a rape kit, chances are she can't allege someone of raping her. There should be exceptions and some of the LEOs may be able to give your some hints or direction.

c) If it's an alleged rape, I, as a reader, will probably scream "Hoax!!!" when the girl insists her boyfriend be present for the police interview. (You need a very convincing reason for both the detectives and readers.) A grope, yeah, no problem. But is a grope good enough for the framing? Further, is the framing meant to be busted? I mean, don't underestimate the cops.

cornflake
05-11-2013, 09:55 PM
Typically yes. She would be interviewed initially at the hospital. Upon her release, at some point she would be asked to come in and give a formal statement.

I would not want the boyfriend present for two reasons. First, she might hold back on some of the details which could be important. Second, he doesn't need to hear what she is going to have to describe. (Assuming that they are telling the truth, of course.)

I can't imagine a cop actually saying that to someone and having the person say another word to the cop, ever; they'd kick the cop out of the room. Kind of especially for the second statement.

ironmikezero
05-11-2013, 10:03 PM
Where (what jurisdiction) does the alleged crime take place?

Consider consulting with the Public Relations office of the local LE agency - it can be important to get the procedures (pursuant to existing agency policies) correct.

Here's a generic procedure that most agencies might follow...

If the first responding patrol unit finds an injured victim (or someone claiming an injury) that victim will be transported (via ambulance) to the nearest trauma facility. An officer may accompany or follow (assuming available manpower). Additional units (and likely a supervisor) will respond to help secure the scene.

Detectives will respond to the scene and then to the hospital to interview the victim, assuming medical authorization (doctor says okay).

Back at the scene, evidence collection techs will process the scene (photograph, document, and secure) any evidence.

Potential witnesses will be sought (canvass) and identified for further interviews.

Interviews of victims and witnesses are conducted with no one else present (unless represented by counsel - rare for victims & witnesses, but it does happen).

The significant other is always considered a suspect until an alibi is corroborated. So, the boyfriend would not be present/involved in the victim's interview. If suspicion is strong enough, the boyfriend may have to be Mirandized (advised of his rights) before his interview can commence - it'll depend upon the circumstances.

BradyH1861
05-11-2013, 10:54 PM
I can't imagine a cop actually saying that to someone and having the person say another word to the cop, ever; they'd kick the cop out of the room. Kind of especially for the second statement.

I didn't explain myself I guess. In the scenario posted, the victims are not telling the truth. I explained my reasoning dealing with a real scenario, hence the assumption of them telling the truth which is always assumed until evidence suggests otherwise.

Sorry that I wasn't a little more clear with what I meant.

cornflake
05-11-2013, 11:14 PM
I didn't explain myself I guess. In the scenario posted, the victims are not telling the truth. I explained my reasoning dealing with a real scenario, hence the assumption of them telling the truth which is always assumed until evidence suggests otherwise.

Sorry that I wasn't a little more clear with what I meant.

Ok, now I'm confused, heh.

I meant in a real scenario, with real people, if a cop said your bf should leave because you might hold back details in front of him or, worse, he doesn't need to hear what you're going tell me about your sexual assault, I don't think I know anyone wouldn't kick the cop out of the room and refuse to speak to said cop again. At the least.

I didn't mean the cops wouldn't seek to separate them for questioning in case the gf was covering for the bf being the assailant or what have you, just that the reasoning given to the victim and/or bf wouldn't be that, or the cop would be out on his or her ear. Nor do I know any law enforcement would think that, but to each his or her own I suppose. Oh, wait, take that back - I know one. Heh. He doesn't really engage with people in the field.

BradyH1861
05-11-2013, 11:20 PM
I didn't mean the cops wouldn't seek to separate them for questioning in case the gf was covering for the bf being the assailant or what have you, just that the reasoning given to the victim and/or bf wouldn't be that, or the cop would be out on his or her ear. Nor do I know any law enforcement would think that, but to each his or her own I suppose. Oh, wait, take that back - I know one. Heh. He doesn't really engage with people in the field.

The reasoning wouldn't be given to anyone. That is one of the reasons why you would do it. But you are correct that you wouldn't tell them that.

If an officer did actually tell a victim that, then they (the officer) should be kicked in the unmentionables.

cornflake
05-11-2013, 11:22 PM
The reasoning wouldn't be given to anyone. That is one of the reasons why you would do it. But you are correct that you wouldn't tell them that.

If an officer did actually tell a victim that, then they (the officer) should be kicked in the unmentionables.

As I said, don't really know anyone much who'd think that either but yeah, at least we're on the same page there.

shaldna
05-11-2013, 11:46 PM
I'm speaking here from a local POV, but from what I can gather, the process is pretty universal.


Ok, I'll try to ask these questions without getting too wordy.

Currently I am writing a scene where a crime was reported. A young female claims to have been assaulted in her home (crime is of a sexual nature). When the crime is over, she first calls her boyfriend who comes over, spends some time with her and they call the police. A little background: this is what they are claiming, the truth is they are using a smaller incident (breaking an entering) to frame someone for a much larger crime (battery, assault, etc.)

The next scene is what I want to make sure I am being accurate with because I want to make sure it is realistic and most of what I know about crime solving is from TV.

1) Would there be a lot of cops/evidence collection in the apartment? The crime commited would involve holding someone against their will, sexual assault, battery, assault with a weapon.

Firstly, when you call emergency services and tell them what's happened, you are likely to get an ambulence and a police car arrive at the same time. The victim will be taken to hospital and the police will be there with her. At the scene the police will secure the area. Despite what shows like CSI would have you believe, often there is little or no collection of evidence at a scene unless it's deemed to be necessary - collecting all the 'evidence' or potential evidence at a scene is considered a waste of police time and public money. Sad but true. You'd also be shocked at the number of sexual assault cases where a full rape examination was not done.

2) Would it be okay to assume that first police officers would take a statement followed by a detective coming to the scene to then asking the victim some further questions or to go over the story again?


3) When the detective asks to speak to the young lady alone due to the sensitivity of the topic, and she insists her boyfriend stay. Would that be opposed by the detective?

A detective would probably have no reason to go to the scene at that time. The police will send her to hospital where someone will hang around. A statement will be taken at some stage - possibly while still in hospital - by a police officer - not necessarily a detective. If she wants someone present and there's no reason not to have them, then that probably wouldn't be an issue. I had to give a statement to the police and my dad was with me at the time. So long as he didn't intervere or influence, it was fine.


4) If while talking the the female, the detective gets a sixth sense that something is "off" with her boyfriend and that there might be more to the story than they are offering, would it be out of line for him to start asking the boyfriend questions? Secondly, would it be out of line for him to ask some tough/prying questions with the female/victim right there?

You'd have to ask someone who works in law enforcement in the country you are setting your story. But generally a victim isn't 'questioned' they give a statement.If there is something 'off' with the boyfriend, you can ask all the questions you want, but he doesn't have to answer you.

jclarkdawe
05-11-2013, 11:46 PM
You really need to talk to some rape investigators.

In many sexual assaults, the physical evidence is anywhere from slim to compromised to ambiguous. (Understand that in a lot of sexual assault cases there's tons of physical evidence.) The victim's initial story is going to be somewhat incoherent and usually has some major holes. And the investigator knows that the defense attorney is going to look at this with very critical eyes, because if the statement can be trashed, the jury will probably come back with a not guilty verdict.

The less physical evidence, the less supportive evidence, the more the victim has to be credible. And the investigator is aware of this. Further, anyone involved in sexual assaults is aware of the revenge alligations. They're not common, but they're out there, and most investigators have been burned by a victim at least once in their career. (It happens to the best of them.)

Good rape investigators are some of the best in the business. They have very strict protocol on how they conduct their investigations. This is why they get convictions in cases that most other investigators would tank.

Second, a statement made in front of a boyfriend would be so much fun for me as a defense attorney. Not only do I get to cross-examine the victim and the investigator on the statement, I get to cross-examine the boyfriend. Think I can't get the boyfriend into a tongue-tied blithering idiot?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

asroc
05-12-2013, 12:55 AM
While I'm not a LEO myself, I've responded to that kind of incident several times for work, and I know most of the local cops' procedures (may vary by agency). So here's how this would go here in LargishCity, USA:




1) Would there be a lot of cops/evidence collection in the apartment? The crime commited would involve holding someone against their will, sexual assault, battery, assault with a weapon.

That depends on how much evidence there is to collect. The first responding officers have to evaluate the situation before they ask for more responders. If the victim is hurt or not safe, that takes priority. Your typical response around here involves EMS, CSU for evidence if applicable, a patrol supervisor and, depending on the nature of the assault, either district detectives or a SAU detective. (They generally only come out for rape or attempted rape.) If the victim needs to go to the hospital, an officer will usually come along with us. The responding detective then comes to the hospital.


2) Would it be okay to assume that first police officers would take a statement followed by a detective coming to the scene to then asking the victim some further questions or to go over the story again?Yes, that's SOP (if the victim is over 16). It's supposed to be very basic so that the detective doesn't ask the same questions all over again. Usually the officer will ask the victim to describe what happened in her own words, and leave most of the in-depth questioning to the detectives.


3) When the detective asks to speak to the young lady alone due to the sensitivity of the topic, and she insists her boyfriend stay. Would that be opposed by the detective?Yeah, for the reasons BradyH1861 outlined. Of course you don't tell them that, generally just saying you'd prefer to do this in private is enough.


4) If while talking the the female, the detective gets a sixth sense that something is "off" with her boyfriend and that there might be more to the story than they are offering, would it be out of line for him to start asking the boyfriend questions? Secondly, would it be out of line for him to ask some tough/prying questions with the female/victim right there?Any time I was around for this the detectives questioned everyone connected to the scene, so they will talk to the boyfriend anyway. Second, I've rarely ever experienced a SAU detective become "tough" when talking to a victim, even when the story is obviously BS. They can get all kinds of information while appearing very gentle and polite. They're very good at that stuff.

melindamusil
05-12-2013, 01:18 AM
Not an LEO, so all the lawyers and LEOs on this thread are welcome to correct me...

If it's your goal to NOT have a rape kit or to find very little evidence on the rape kit, you could have her wait awhile before calling the police. Maybe she was so freaked out, she took several showers trying to clean up. Or she doesn't want to call police and boyfriend has to convince her. I don't know off the top of my head how long they can find viable evidence from a rape kit (12 hours? 24 hours?) but you could play with that. (And if she is making a false accusation, you could use that to play with your timetable.)

As far as asking the boyfriend to leave... if the detectives are male, I would imagine that they might offer to have a female police officer present during the questioning. (Or maybe a social worker?) Totally guessing on that, just my imagination.

cornflake
05-12-2013, 06:54 AM
Not an LEO, so all the lawyers and LEOs on this thread are welcome to correct me...

If it's your goal to NOT have a rape kit or to find very little evidence on the rape kit, you could have her wait awhile before calling the police. Maybe she was so freaked out, she took several showers trying to clean up. Or she doesn't want to call police and boyfriend has to convince her. I don't know off the top of my head how long they can find viable evidence from a rape kit (12 hours? 24 hours?) but you could play with that. (And if she is making a false accusation, you could use that to play with your timetable.)

As far as asking the boyfriend to leave... if the detectives are male, I would imagine that they might offer to have a female police officer present during the questioning. (Or maybe a social worker?) Totally guessing on that, just my imagination.

Ok, what, exactly, are they claiming happened?

This is going to determine the amount of potential physical evidence anyplace. If they're claiming someone came in behind her, wore gloves, pointed a gun at her, made her perform oral sex and left and she said she took a shower, brushed her teeth, used 40 tons of mouthwash or whatever, little point.

If they say she was forcibly raped but she took showers, there's still likely to be evidence that can at least be documented if not collected. There's potential bruising or other wounding, potential physical evidence like hairs or identifying marks, etc.

If she calls and says a couple days ago she was attacked but didn't call or do anything and went about her business, and she's an adult - not that that doesn't happen, but that's going to likely raise red flags.

In the hospital you mean? If there's a female detective on call in the precinct or area covering they'll often catch a sexual assault call with a female victim. If it's a male detective there will usually be nurses, doctors, etc. in there or in and out while they're taking a statement regardless. If the victim asked for a female officer to be there, they'd probably call one I suppose.

Nononana
05-12-2013, 06:23 PM
Thank you for all of the advice, this is very helpful! I left out some parts because I didn't want to become too long winded, but now I am seeing it is essential to get the full story out. Keep in mind, my story is about people with some deep seated issues, but these issues are not known publicly. It may sound convoluted, but this is a book two, so the back story to this is 500 pages!

Girlfriend and boyfriend have some very rough (consensual) sex that leaves her bruised. They argue and she goes home in the middle of the night and being an emotional mess, she cuts herself .
When she is getting dressed, the accused shows up at her house to proclaim his innocence about a past assault. He is an enemy of her boyfriend and someone she believes has assaulted her in the past. He doesn't touch her, he tries to talk to her, but he gets spooked when he realizes she has had her cell phone on the entire time and runs out of the condo.
Boyfriend comes to her house right away. He cleans her cuts and she changes into pjs as they wonder how they are going to finally get rid of this person. They don't want to just tell the police about the breaking an entering because they would have to explain the physical markings, revealing some scandalous secrets of their own (the boyfriend especially is very respected in the community).
She has the idea to say that the accused beat her, tied her up and cut her, sexually assaulted her, forced her to bathe. When he left her unattended, she dialed her phone, and he fled thinking the police might be on their way. She lives in a penthouse condo, alone on the top floor. Cameras have surveillance of him entering and leaving the building.
So that is what I have right now. I am on the fence about taking out the sexual assault aspect or leaving it in.
The detective is supposed to be shrewd, and have a bad gut feeling about the boyfriend. On the other hand, I want him to be in a position that though he has suspicions, he cannot disprove anything only become a pain in the butt to the main characters. The boyfriend is pretty much a sociopath and highly intelligent, so he is hard to rattle and very charming. The accused is no saint either. This is a subplot, so the initial scene is important, and the detective's kind but persistent follow up (because he just has a feeling) will be a thorn in the character's side throughout the novel.

I do have access to 2 former prosecutors in my life, one who started a new practice and barely has time to see his family, and the other, who worked with sexual assault victims and had a special place in her heart for that, is in the galapagos islands for a while (just my luck). I wanted to make sure I have a good understanding of the topic first, since they are both very busy and if I have questions I want to be concise and not seem like I haven't done my research.

jclarkdawe
05-12-2013, 06:41 PM
You have a major problem in forensic medicine. With rough sex, we see bruising in the breasts, face, posterior, and groin area. In a sexual assault, we see bruising in the arms, stomach, breasts, and face. Rough, consensual sex involves a willingness of the part of the person playing the victim. We won't see defensive type wounds and bruising, as they're not really defending themselves. We may see bondage marks (very distinct in a lot of cases). However, someone unwillingly bound will show a lot more destruction in the areas of the bondage as the person actually struggles to get free, as opposed to the somewhat pretend struggle of someone who agrees to be bound.

By the time you become an investigator for a police department, you'll be able to tell the difference. Doesn't mean you can't guess wrong on occasion, but most cases are fairly clear. It tends to be confusing when the victim goes from being willing to unwilling, and back again.

For your case, your "victim" is going to have to allow herself to be beaten by the boyfriend all over. Your best hope is creating a confusing mosaic over her entire body. But remember that posterior wounds rarely happen in an assault.

Cutting is also very distinct in how it happens. It's hard for it to be confused with either defensive wounds or held in position wounds.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
05-12-2013, 09:25 PM
I'm guessing the OP meant internal bruising/wounding, which is less likely in a consensual encounter, even a rough one. Bruising of more external areas maybe but see above the difference between defensive wounds and not.

Also cutting wounds are kind of really obvious as to what they are and how they're made.

melindamusil
05-13-2013, 03:25 AM
As far as asking the boyfriend to leave... if the detectives are male, I would imagine that they might offer to have a female police officer present during the questioning. (Or maybe a social worker?) Totally guessing on that, just my imagination.



In the hospital you mean? If there's a female detective on call in the precinct or area covering they'll often catch a sexual assault call with a female victim. If it's a male detective there will usually be nurses, doctors, etc. in there or in and out while they're taking a statement regardless. If the victim asked for a female officer to be there, they'd probably call one I suppose.

This is a bit of an intuitive leap, but I mean I doubt they would lock the girl who was just raped in a room by herself but with a strange man (or even two or three strange men). If its at the hospital I suppose they might have a couple of nurses, maybe even a female doctor. At the precinct, when they are interviewing her? At the very least I would imagine it would be more than one man.

But like I said this is an intuitive leap (aka a guess!).

ironmikezero
05-13-2013, 05:35 AM
FWIW... In my experience, seasoned medical personnel are very savvy and tended to be rather scarce whenever my partner and I took a statement from a hospitalized victim or witness. Doctors and nurses usually knew that if they remained present it was duly noted in our report. Consequently, they could thereafter be subpoenaed to testify (before a Grand Jury, or at further court proceedings like motion hearings and the trial itself - for the prosecution or the defense) as to what was seen/heard firsthand in the course of the interview. Medical folks generally loathe having to spend days at the courthouse awaiting a judge's pleasure.