WARNING: Graphic Images
Dorothy and Toto spent most of the beloved movie classic, “The Wizard of Oz”, trying to get back home to Kansas. But Kansas City has not been a safe place for children for years now.
An investigation by the Kansas City Star has disclosed that police abandoned many child rape and other cases of serious abuse against children . Internal memoranda by the Kansas City Police Dept. describe 148 cases as reflecting gross investigatory negligence, and what can only be characterized as callous disregard on the part of investigating officers.
The Crimes Against Children Unit investigates around 1,000 cases annually. Last summer, prosecutors were unable to proceed on a case it had taken over a year to investigate. Several hundred cases in the Unit were found to be six months old or older.
A Special Response Team was formed in September 2015 to clear these backlogged cases. Half the cases over six months old were found to have been insufficiently investigated. Fifty involving rape, broken bones, and near starvation languished for over a year.
These included cases where:
- a 4 y.o. rape victim was infected with a sexually transmitted disease;
- 4 y.o. and 5 y.o. malnourished children were sodomized by a known sex offender who was, also, a household member; and
- a 12 y.o. runaway was raped by three men, one of whom she was actually able to identify.
Irregularities were uncovered so severe that nearly all the detectives and sergeants of the Crimes Against Children Unit were suspended.
Dozens of cases that could have been successfully resolved were simply closed (apparently so that the Special Response Team would not examine them). Some suspects were never questioned at all.
What evidence did exist was mishandled. Cell phones, victim interviews, and at least one gun were left lying casually around, for months or years, often without identifying information.
This widespread investigatory failure handicapped prosecutors, and undercut the efforts of medical personnel, social workers, and child interviewers to protect children. Worst of all, it exposed vulnerable children to continued abuse.
But the problem had been surfaced to police commanders as early as 2011. Despite that, the request for an additional sergeant to assist the Crimes Against Children Unit went unfilled for a year.
A Quality Control Unit has since been established. This is reviewing tens of thousands of cases to assure that they were properly handled. An Internal Affairs investigation is under way. Meanwhile, the suspended officers have been reinstated, but transferred to Patrol Units.
“...[I]t is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18: 14).
 Kansas City Star, “KCPD failed to investigate child sex, abuse cases, documents reveal” by Glenn Rice, Donna McGuire, and Ian Cummings, 9/15/16, http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article101962597.html.
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