I-Team: How 60 sex crimes cases in Cleveland fell through the cracks

CLEVELAND-The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered an internal investigation into 60 reports of sex crimes cases in Cleveland not fully investigated for years.

A police internal review found a detective in the Sex Crimes Unit “failed to properly investigate the cases.” Then the detective got promoted and transferred, and he took the cases with him. But records show he “did not conduct any additional investigations…”

City internal charges also accuse supervisors of not doing enough to check on the status of those cases.

Records show the detective worked in the sex crimes unit from January 2014-June 2015. A supervisor finally sent a second email about the cases in March 2016.

While the 60 cases involved date all the way back to 2014, the fallout is just now developing. Hearings are underway at the safety director's office to determine discipline. A commander, a sergeant and the detective first assigned those cases could be punished.

The I-Team has asked for reports to find out what ultimately happened to all of those cases, but the city has not responded to that.

Councilman Michael Polensek says no excuse. He told the I-Team, “As a father of three daughters, I'm outraged when I hear that.” He added, "It’s bad management. There's no accountability. They gotta resolve that.”

Councilman Brian Kazy added, "It does come down to supervision. Even though they may be short-staffed, we still have supervisors who should be overseeing the cases as well."

Nearly a decade ago, the case of serial killer Anthony Sowell led city hall to promise better handling of sex crimes and missing person cases. The daughter of one of Sowell’s victims reacted to the latest internal investigation. Donnita Carmichael said, "Horrifying that here we are...almost nine years later from my mom's situation with Anthony Sowell that nothing has changed. All the broken promises.” She added, "It's horrible. Somebody needs to answer to that."

We’re not naming the officers since discipline has not been handed out yet. The union for the police supervisors had no comment with the hearings still pending.

Meantime, we’ve repeatedly emailed questions to city hall and the chief’s office. We’ve not received answers.