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Prosecutor Disputes Numbers In Domestic Violence Report

Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal says the extended statute of limitations will allow more sexual abuse cases to be prosecuted.

The Monroe County prosecutor is criticizing a study detailing domestic violence in Bloomington. The prosecutor’s office and other local officials cannot agree on how representative the data is of domestic violence in the city.

The Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women says the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office hasn’t efficiently handled domestic violence cases.

The commission’s 2013 report uses data from 2009 to analyze domestic violence cases from arrest to sentencing. According to the report, fewer than half of all felony charges resulted in prosecution, and more than half of all cases resulted in a plea bargain.

But Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal says the Commission included all cases involving offenses such as strangulation and battery in the report without verifying whether the crimes were domestic. Gaal says he already has a team in his office responsible for tracking data the report sought out to compile.

“I’m not aware of any other prosecutor’s office anywhere that’s providing that level of transparency, so we have data,” says Gaal. “The data is out there.”

Gaal says combining his office’s data with cooperation from the commission would create a clearer picture on domestic violence in the city.

Commission on the Status of Women Chair Cathi Crabtree stresses that the report was not an attack on the prosecutor’s office, but rather a call to action.

“What we were hoping is that people within the community- stakeholders and the average citizen, who are also stakeholders in this issue, would read the report and have a discussion on what we as a community think needs to change, if anything,” says Crabtree.

Crabtree maintains the commission’s data was accurate. She says she’d like to see an organization independent of the commission or prosecutor’s office take a look at the numbers.

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