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Listen: Why Seattle police have stopped investigating new reports of adult sexual assaults

A man in a Seattle Police Department uniform speaks while gesturing with both hands. He stands in front of the seal of the City of Seattle.
Elaine Thompson
The Associated Press
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2020, file photo, Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz addresses a news conference in Seattle.

The Seattle Police Department has stopped investigating new reports of sexual assaults with adult victims, according to an internal memo sent to Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz.

Reporters Ashley Hiruko from KUOW and Sydney Brownstone of the Seattle Times reported the story earlier this week. They sat down with KNKX's Vivian McCall to explain why this is happening and what this means for victims.

Listen to their conversation above.

On Thursday, following the report, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell calledthe sexual assault unit's critically low staffing “unacceptable.”

“I’m not happy with where the city is, but we will indeed make sure that we are providing optimal service, both for investigation and victim survivor support here this year,” Harrell said.

Updated: June 3, 2022 at 2:50 PM PDT
Added Harrell's latest comments and link to additional reporting from Hiruko and Brownstone
Updated: June 3, 2022 at 11:21 AM PDT
Audio file has been updated to the version that aired on KNKX this morning.
Vivian McCall is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host. She previously spent eight years as a reporter in Chicago, where she wrote for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ public radio.