Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The creation of a Special Victims Division on par with the Appeals, Investigation, Pathways, and Trial Divisions speaks to one of the Office’s core values: putting the dignity and wellbeing of survivors at the center of our work.

Special Victims Division 

D.A. Bragg created the Office’s first Special Victims Division, elevating the role of our Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Bureau, and the Child Abuse, Human Trafficking, and Elder Abuse Units. The Division includes specially trained Assistant D.A.s, as well as investigators, analysts, and social workers who work exclusively on these extremely sensitive cases. 

In line with its mission to center survivors, the Special Victims Division is helmed by leaders with expertise in providing services to survivors and implementing trauma-informed policies. 

Notable cases: 

  • June 2023: Kareem and Sharice Mitchell were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison for running a sex trafficking operation involving at least eight young women, two of whom were placed in their care as certified New York State foster parents.
  • June 2023: We announced the indictment of a man for targeting a 14-year-old girl on Instagram, repeatedly giving her drugs, and raping her in hotel rooms in Queens and Manhattan. The investigation, which has revealed similar contact with numerous other children, is ongoing.
  • May 2023: Gregory Smith was sentenced to 24 years in prison for raping two teenage girls in Harlem and then attempting to bribe them for their silence. “I thank these young survivors for bravely reporting this despicable behavior, which aided our prosecutors in their fight for accountability,” said D.A. Bragg.
  • March 2023: We indicted Jamel McIver on multiple charges including Rape in the First Degree for following a stranger into her Upper West Side apartment building and raping her. “The horrific conduct charged in the indictment is beyond disturbing. New Yorkers should not have to fear for their safety when they walk into their apartment buildings,” said D.A. Bragg.
  • June 2022: We indicted two men for violently trafficking multiple women in their mid-twenties, forcing them to engage in commercial sexual acts in at least six states. The men allegedly coerced the survivors by beating them, brandishing a firearm, withholding their personal identifying documents, and forcing them to take cocaine – all while disguising the financial proceeds by creating a Connecticut-based LLC. 
  • July 2022: The Office secured the trial conviction of a neurologist for sexually assaulting and raping six patients under his care at the Beth Israel Medical Center. The neurologist not only sexually assaulted his patients but overprescribed serious pain medication to women with chronic and debilitating pain disorders in order to exert control over them.
  • October 2022: We indicted a man for attacking and sexually assaulting three women as they jogged along the Hudson River Greenway in Upper Manhattan in September 2022. As alleged, he preyed on women using the same pattern: attacking them in broad daylight as they were out for a run. 
SPOTLIGHT: D.A. Bragg’s Human Trafficking Response Unit is leading the way in vacating convictions of survivors of human trafficking under the 2021 START Act. Not only have we consented to every START Act motion made thus far, we are applying the same approach to new and existing cases. If there is a credible claim that someone committed a crime as a result of human trafficking, we dismiss the case.

Witness Aid Services Unit

Centering survivors means centering the dedicated professionals who provide services and supports in every area of our work. D.A. Bragg is enhancing the role of our Witness Aid Services Unit (“WASU”) in our Special Victims cases, and across the Office. WASU ensures crime victims, witnesses, and their families can access the services they need to rebuild their lives, while helping them navigate New York’s complex court system. Staffed with licensed therapists, WASU provides free counseling and therapy services – ensuring access to mental health services for historically underserved communities – as well as free safety planning, shelter placements, healthcare referrals, and more.

In May 2023, we filed a memorandum of support for Senator Zellnor Myrie’s legislation that will work to expand eligibility for victims and survivors of crime to access victim compensation funds by removing the mandatory law enforcement reporting requirement and providing alternative forms of evidence that would show that a qualifying crime was committed. This compensation plays an important role in victims’ healing journey and in fostering safety in communities impacted by crime.