A New York City police detective who investigates sex crimes is under internal investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a fellow detective inside the Manhattan office of the NYPD’s Special Victims Division, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The accused detective, Abel Perez, was placed on modified duty, multiple sources confirmed, after he allegedly grabbed the butt of a woman detective in the unit.
Perez hung up when called for comment Friday. He did not respond to multiple additional attempts to reach him for comment.
After the incident, the woman detective went to the unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Austin Morange, to file an official complaint against Perez, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. During a three-hour closed-door meeting, he tried to talk the detective out of filing a complaint, the source said.
Lou Turco from the Lieutenants Benevolent Association told BuzzFeed News that the union “categorically denies” that Morange attempted to talk her out of making the complaint, adding that the lieutenant was “very willing to take whatever action the detective wanted to pursue.”
“We will welcome the complete investigation into this matter,” Turco told BuzzFeed News.
The detective — whom BuzzFeed News has not identified — did file a complaint and multiple sources confirmed that an internal investigation is underway.
An NYPD spokesperson declined to comment.
“Apparently something occurred but I don’t yet know the full extent of it,” Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, which represents Perez, told BuzzFeed News. “Various accusations are being made so at this point we are trying to get to the bottom of exactly what’s going on.”
The report of the incident comes as the unit is dealing with multiple internal shake-ups. Last month, longtime chief of the division, Michael Osgood, retired after it was reported that the veteran commander was being transferred out of the sex crimes division to Staten Island to run a patrol borough.
Multiple advocates for victims of sexual assault said they saw the move to relocate Osgood as effectively pushing him out of the Special Victims Division. Shortly after his transfer was announced, Osgood decided to retire from the NYPD.