By: Kyle James | 11-17-2018 | News
Photo credit: @NYPDDetectives | Twitter

NYPD Re-Assigns Division Chief Leading Harvey Weinstein Investigation

Harvey Weinstein is facing prosecution in New York over alleged sex crimes, but now the New York Police Department has announced they have re-assigned the chief of New York City's special victims division. The re-assignment was the result of months of efforts by a watchdog group who found the unit was stretched too thin to be able to properly investigate sexual assault claims such as those against the former Hollywood mogul.

Deputy Chief Michael Osgood was replaced this week which coincided with allegations that a top detective had compromised the Weinstein case. Osgood will now take on a leadership position in Staten Island. The replacement who is now the lead Deputy Chief presiding over the Weinstein case is a woman named Judith Harrison. "We are thoroughly committed to investigating these heinous crimes," Harrison said in a press conference Friday. "If we can get better, we will get better."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">“We are thoroughly committed to investigating these heinous crimes. If we can get better, we will get better,” said new <a href="">@NYPDSVU</a> Commanding Officer Deputy Chief Judith Harrison after being introduced by <a href="">@NYPDChiefofDept</a> and <a href="">@NYPDDetectives</a>. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) <a href="">November 16, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Related coverage: <a href="">Harvey Weinstein Shown Groping Woman During 2011 Business Meeting (Video)</a>

Police Commissioner James O'Neill first announced the changes in April when he promised a "top-to-bottom scrub" of the unit after the city's Department of Investigation came to the conclusion that cases were not being properly investigated. The investigation showed that the sex crimes caseload had jumped 65 percent since 2009 yet the number of investigators had virtually stagnated.

The review of the NYPD was coming to a close when evidence surfaced of alleged misconduct against Det. Nicholas DiGaudio. Osgood worked closely with DiGaudio on the Weinstein case calling the integrity of the investigation into question even further. Weinstein is currently under investigation and facing criminal charges in New York for allegedly raping a woman in his hotel room in 2013. He is also accused of performing a forcible sex act on another victim in 2006.

A third accuser named Lucia Evans had charges stemming from her accusations against Weinstein dismissed by a judge last month. The judge agreed to dismiss the charges relating to the third accuser when evidence surfaced that DiGaudio had coached a witness to stay silent about anything that could cast doubt on Evan's allegations.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Please welcome the new Commanding Officer of our Special Victims Division, Deputy Chief Judith Harrison. <a href="">@NYPDSVU</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) <a href="">November 15, 2018</a></blockquote>

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NYPD officials say DiGaudio no longer is involved in the case and his union said he "was simply trying to get to the truth". DiGaudio is accused of urging the witness, who accused Weinstein of raping her in 2013, to delete information from her phone before turning it into detectives. Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon claimed the information wasn't related to the case and the woman turned over her phone "without any deletions" once she spoke to her attorney.

In reality, even when you delete something off your phone, law enforcement forensic investigators can still get to that information if they wanted to but it doesn't excuse DiGaudio's alleged witness tampering. Aside from the issue with DiGaudio, Illuzzi-Orbon insists her case against the former Hollywood producer is strong.

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Related coverage: <a href="">Ronan Farrow Was Threatened By NBC Lawyers If He Kept Reporting On Harvey Weinstein</a>

The Department of Investigation's report was issued last March and revealed that just 67 special victims detectives were responsible for a caseload of 5,661 sexual assaults last year alone. That meant that the majority of sex crime cases fell to precinct-level detectives who didn't have the same training in dealing with sexual assaults and victims.

NYPD Chief Shea said, "We are deeply committed to doing everything and anything necessary to ensure survivors feel the safety and support needed to come forward, bravely share their experiences, and help the NYPD bring to justice those who have committed these horrific crimes. It is their belief these crimes are happening, there is no difference, and it's just now the light is being shined on it."

Chief Shea added that Harrison is a 21-year member of the NYPD and will bring a "new set of eyes and a fresh perspective" to the department's sex crimes unit.

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