Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has formed a specialized “Hollywood sex-crimes task force” in order to streamline investigations into the entertainment industry’s flood of sexual assault accusations, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department has assigned ten detectives to handle 28 open investigations related to accusations against Hollywood and media figures.
Allegations have been made against some of the industry’s biggest names, including producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Ed Westwick, director James Toback, writer Murray Miller, and talent agent Tyler Grasham, among others.
The department received 37 additional reports of sex crimes that occurred in other jurisdictions, and forwarded those reports to the appropriate agencies, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We anticipate the LAPD and other jurisdictions will receive even more high profile sex crime reports in the coming weeks and months,” Chief Beck said in an email to the Los Angeles Times. “We encourage all victims of sexual assault to come forward to report these crimes.”
Due to the age of some of these allegations, as well as the coinciding lack of physical evidence in some cases, the department included members of the cold-case unit when they established the Hollywood sex-crimes task force.
Alleged victims must be interviewed to help establish whether or not the allegations occurred within statute of limitation requirements before the task force opens an investigation, the New York Post reported.
A team of “veteran sex crimes prosecutors” has also been established, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on Nov. 9, according to a press release.
“In response to the widespread allegations of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, I have established a task force of specially trained deputy district attorneys who are ready to evaluate these cases if any are referred to my office for criminal prosecution,” Lacey said.
“I have assigned the group of veteran sex crimes prosecutors to work together to ensure a uniformed approach to the legal review and possible prosecution of any case that meets both the legal and factual standards for criminal prosecution,” Lacey said.
The establishment of the prosecutorial and investigative teams emphasized the agencies’ commitment to alleged victims and to the public.
“We recognize the significant trauma these victims suffer at the hands of the predators who commit these heinous crimes,” Chief Beck told the Los Angeles Times.
“Our detectives are coordinating closely with our local prosecutors and other police agencies including the NYPD. The high profile nature of these particular cases has not changed our unyielding commitment to seek justice for ALL victims of sexual assault,” Chief Beck said.