Mother not notified after Fort Worth police botch sex assault case

FWPD says one of its detectives mishandled a case involving a teen who says she was raped.

An Arlington Heights High School student went to social media for help after she felt her cries for help to her school and police after a rape had fallen on deaf ears.

The girl was 15 years old when she was raped and she said the attack happened near campus.

"I was raped on Wednesday December 2, 2015,” the girl said. “I told the school thinking they'd help me."

Feeling ashamed and guilty, she didn't tell her parents and waited three months to report the incident to the school after hearing from friends that her alleged attacker did the same thing to other girls.

Fort Worth ISD filed a report with police, but FOX 4 learned Wednesday that the detective assigned to the case did nothing with it from there.

Police said the department fired former detective Dennis Hutchins in July 2016 for mishandling multiple child abuse cases.

"We've discovered there were several cases where the detective dropped the ball,” said Sgt. Marc Povero, Fort Worth Police Dept. “We've done our due diligence to go back through all the cases not properly handled or mishandled and we're re-investigating those cases, this was one of them."

However, FOX 4 found that even after a new detective was assigned the case, police never called the girl's mother to tell her that her daughter's case had not been investigated by Hutchins.

“I have a minor child who was sexually assaulted and I was not told,” the mother said. “She made a report and as a parent I could have provided her some emotional support, therapy, guidance to get through it, rather than watch her decline academically and not know what was going on."

The mother only learned that her daughter's case had fallen through the cracks, after FOX 4 called the police department.

“It's heartbreaking to me that my daughter went through this alone,” the mom said.

When the new detective took over he called the girl four months after her initial report had been made. With no parental guidance, she decided not to pursue the case.

"I was trying to forget about it,” the girl said.

The mother believes there should be a mandate that all parents are called if there is an allegation of abuse.

Police explained why they didn’t reach out to the mother.

"We didn't have contact information for the mother, that's not to say we couldn't find it, but at that time we had a victim who was not cooperating with the investigation,” Sgt. Povero said.

Fort Worth ISD declined to comment on the case because of student privacy. The district did provide FOX 4 with its policy that says a parent is to be notified unless there is an objection, such as an allegation being made against a parent.

This investigation started as tip from the public. If you would like submit a tip or story idea, please email iteam@kdfwfox4.com.


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