SAN ANTONIO – Despite Thursday’s revelation by the San Antonio Police Department that over 130 sexual assault cases were mishandled, the interim director of the Rape Crisis Center is urging all victims to trust the Special Victims Unit and continue to report crimes.
“I have confidence that SAPD is doing what they need to do after meeting with Chief McManus this morning,” Deanna Franks said. “He was very genuine, humbly apologized just as he did in the press conference and I truly believe that they're just as upset as we are, doing everything they can moving forward to make sure this doesn't continue.”
A lieutenant and two sergeants from the Special Victims Unit have been transferred from the unit for "failing to properly supervise the unit," Police Chief William McManus said.
He said other disciplinary actions "are in the final stages."
City Manager Sheryl Sculley has directed the city attorney and deputy city attorney to conduct an independent review of the unit and all cases that were assigned to it.
Still, Franks expressed disappointment that so many cases were mismanaged including many involving children.
“It's hard to talk to someone about something that happened that's very intimate, that's very traumatizing and you're telling a complete stranger about this and you're talking to a law enforcement person,” she said. “To be able to be brave enough to go down there and do that and then to find out, 'I wasted my time. Why did I even bother going down there?' is probably what a lot of people are thinking right now.”
Franks said the center meets with about 900 victims a year at area hospitals but those are only the cases reported in time to get DNA samples. Countless others are reported months, even years, after the alleged crimes.
“We've had a couple of people respond and call in and contact us by Facebook that they're upset, with very good reason,” she said. “They can reach out to us, we're definitely here for them. We understand this is very upsetting and we want to help them in any way that we can.”
"There is a lot more that I want to say about this, but federal law and provisions in the collective bargaining agreement with the police union prevent me from doing so at this time," Sculley said. "Bottom line, we are going to deal with this.”