Two former supervisors of the police sex crimes division were disciplined in recent months as part of an internal investigation into misconduct by the unit’s leadership, according to department records posted online.
One officer, Inspector Paul J. Saraceno, who was the second in command of the Special Victims Division, was fined 30 vacation days for misusing division time and submitting false time sheets.
The other, Sergeant Keri L. Thompson, who led the division’s DNA cold-case team and oversaw a 2018 investigation into filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, was detained 45 vacation days for misusing a department vehicle and misdirecting of researchers during an interview.
The disciplinary results, which had not previously been reported, came to light after the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it had opened a civil rights investigation into whether police mishandling of sex crime cases amounted to gender-biased policing.
But the cases against Inspector Saraceno and Sergeant Thompson arose out of an ongoing Bureau of Internal Affairs investigation into misconduct at the top of the Special Victims Division that began in 2019, which also aimed to account for dozens of rape kits that hospital detectives used. in the Bronx, but never turned over to the coroner.
Sergeant Thompson declined to comment when reached by phone on Monday, and Detective Inspector Saraceno did not respond to a phone call or text.
Both pleaded guilty and have been removed from their posts. Sergeant Thompson was transferred from the division to patrol after she was served with the charges in late 2020, according to police station records. Inspector Saraceno had already left to head the Vice Enforcement Department — another unit dealing with human trafficking and prostitution — but he was also reassigned to patrol after he filed his plea and filed for retirement.
Inspector Saraceno was named executive officer of the Special Victims Division in 2017, a roster that made him second only to Chief Michael Osgood, the division commander, just as a city audit began investigating complaints that police were not taking rape allegations seriously. . After the findings of the audit were made public in 2018, Inspector Saraceno was… promoted to inspector rank and was given full responsibility for the adult sexual offenses that were the focus of the investigation.
In the spring of 2020, before Inspector Saraceno was raised on departmental charges, he was promoted to chief of the Vice Enforcement Division, which investigates human trafficking, prostitution and online crimes against children. †
He pleaded guilty to three administrative charges: misusing department time, making or causing false notes in department files, and failing to submit his weekly timecards on time, according to department files. In addition to the 30 days of vacation, he was also fined more than 76 hours of paid leave and six hours of time toward retirement, according to a department personnel file.
Before being charged by the department, Sergeant Thompson had supervised Detective Nicholas DiGuadio, whose mistakes in the Weinstein case had led prosecutors to dismiss the charges against one of the film producer’s accusers.
Sergeant Thompson pleaded guilty to misusing a department vehicle, making inaccurate or misleading statements to department investigators, failing to monitor and failing to properly report to Internal Affairs. Investigators had investigated how a car assigned to Sergeant Thompson’s unit became so badly damaged that it had to be taken out of service.
Sergeant Thompson was initially transferred from the Special Victims Division in November 2020, according to the New York Post, after she was charged. She is currently assigned to the 10th district in the Chelsea borough of Manhattan.
Specific details of the wrongdoing that Detective Inspector Saraceno and Sergeant Thompson admitted were not publicly available online, and police said the information was not readily accessible Monday, citing the July 4 holiday.