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March 19th, 2007

Unsolved Sex Crimes Units

Fairfax.jpg I recently got email from Detective Mark Pfeiffer of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Cold Case Unit. He was giving me some corrections to my list of cold case units. I became aware that Fairfax has a unsolved sex crime unit.

I am so glad to hear that unsolved sex crimes units are being created. Tom Jackman of the Washington Post wrote an article about the Fairfax squad on February 13. From his article. “Most police departments don’t have the resources or manpower to form a squad devoted solely to sex crimes. Phoenix started the first one in 2000; Baltimore, Charlotte and Dallas also have one or two full-time cold-case sex specialists.”

The other issue is the statute of limitations for sex crimes. It’s different from state to state, but in New York the statute of limitations is so short it’s immoral. Someone can rape a child and if they manage to allude capture for a few years, they’re free. Not that someone should be able to get away with raping anyone, but the argument for a statute of limitations is that it’s hard to prove consent years after the fact. It’s equally difficult to prove a lack of consent years after the fact, so that’s a wash, but for a child it doesn’t even apply. Sex with a nine-year-old child, for instance, is never consensual. Virginia doesn’t have a statute of limitations for rape.

Solving sex crimes could ultimately help solve unsolved murders as well. When detectives in New York look through unsolved murders for ones they think they can solve, they look for female victims first, because with a sex crime–often a component of a woman’s murder–there is likely to be more evidence. The murderer got closer to his victim, a savage intimacy that provides more serological evidence, fingernail scrapings, hair and fibers. Find the rapist, find the murderer.

Some states from the U.S. Department of Justice website:

– Convicted rape and sexual assault offenders serving time in State prisons report that two-thirds of their victims were under the age of 18, and 58% of those–or nearly 4 in 10 imprisoned violent sex offenders–said their victims were aged 12 or younger.
– In 90% of the rapes of children less than 12 years old, the child knew the offender, according to police-recorded incident data.
– Among victims 18 to 29 years old, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the rapist.
– Four datasets (the FBI’s UCR arrests, State felony court convictions, prison admissions, and the National Crime Victimization Survey) all point to a sex offender who is older than other violent offenders, generally in his early 30’s, and more likely to be white than other violent offenders.

Great work Det. Pfeiffer, and everyone else in your squad. If anyone else knows of other unsolved sex crime units, please let me know. I’d love to add them to my list.

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Cold Case Squads ·

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Giovanni Verdi // Oct 12, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    In Virginia, is there any statute of limitations for sexual assault?

    I am not talking about rape or sex with some one underage.

  • 2 Stacy Horn // Oct 12, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    First, rape is not something I have researched.

    But I goggled your question and you can find your answer at the address below. You would have to investigate further to learn just how the particular assault you are talking about would be classified. I would suggest calling a local rape crisis center, they could probably tell you who to call to find out. (My sympathies to whoever it is we’re talking about here.)

    http://www.rainn.org/pdf-files-and-other-documents/Public-Policy/Legal-resources/08VirginiaStatutes.pdf

  • 3 Amanduh. // Oct 20, 2009 at 1:01 am

    My sister was raped when she was 11 year old. No one really talks about what happens. I only remember few details, since I was 8 at the time. I know the guy name was Eric. He lived around the block from where we used to live. It still effects my sister today. I want to know if hes locked up since I heard he had other victims in the neighborhood. This is something thats been bothering me for a long time since i heard he was out. How can I get information on this ? I dont want to bring it up to anyone in my family. Please and Thankyou.

  • 4 Stacy Horn // Oct 20, 2009 at 8:14 am

    As I’ve said, sex crimes are not my area of expertise, but you would need his complete name in order to look this up yourself or for anyone to help you. If you would rather not bring this up with your sister, you could ask your parents or friends and neighbors. Once you have the name go to the link on the left lableed NY Inmate Lookup (STATE) and put in his name.

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