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The U.S. Justice Department has launched a sweeping inquiry into the New York Police Department unit that investigates sex crimes following years of complaints about the way it treats crime victims. The civil rights investigation announced Thursday will review the department’s Special Victims Division to examine whether it engages in a pattern of gender-biased policing. Justice Department officials say they will be reaching out to community groups and the public to learn about their interactions with the division. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace says the NYPD has already taken steps to address concerns, but authorities want to ensure sex assault victims are treated fair in the future.

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U.S. Attorney Breon Peace speaks to members of the media outside federal court, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Federal law enforcement is investigating the New York Police Department’s treatment of sex crime victims after concluding there is “significant justification” to do so and after receiving reports of deficiencies for more than a decade, prosecutors said Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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FILE - Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke speaks at a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. Federal law enforcement is investigating the New York Police Department's treatment of sex crime victims after concluding there is "significant justification" to do so and after receiving reports of deficiencies for more than a decade, prosecutors said Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

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Cain Velasquez, the former UFC heavyweight champion accused of trying to kill the man he claims molested his 4-year-old son, is suing the man and his family who own a day care where the alleged molestation occurred. Velasquez was arrested in San Jose, California, last February after prosecutors said he shot at a pickup truck carrying the man through busy streets. His criminal trial is pending. Velasquez claims in the civil lawsuit that the man he's accused of targeting had sexually molested Velasquez’s son while the boy was attending the day care.

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Cristiano Ronaldo wants a U.S. judge to order a woman’s lawyer to pay the international soccer star more than $626,000 after claiming in a failed lawsuit in 2018 that Ronaldo raped the woman in Las Vegas nearly a decade earlier. The woman’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, didn't immediately respond Wednesday to messages about the request. The judge on June 10 kicked the case out of court to punish Stovall for “bad-faith conduct” and the improper use of leaked and stolen documents to press the woman's case. The bid for court costs and fees dwarfs a $375,000 hush-money payment the woman received in 2010 to drop her claim she was sexually assaulted.

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The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans, looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them. That's according to law enforcement officials and others familiar with the inquiry who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.  More than a dozen alleged abuse victims have so far been interviewed as part of the probe that comes as the Archdiocese of New Orleans reels from a bankruptcy brought on by a flood of sex abuse lawsuits and allegations church leaders turned a blind eye to generations of predator priests.

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A lawsuit alleges the Houston Texans had been told that their former quarterback Deshaun Watson was sexually assaulting and harassing women during massage sessions, but instead of trying to stop him, the team provided him with resources to enable his actions and “turned a blind eye” to his behavior. The lawsuit against the team was filed in Houston on Monday by one of the 24 women who had previously sued Watson over allegations of sexual misconduct when he played for the Texans. In a statement, the Houston Texans said the team would “take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization." Watson is set to have a hearing this week over whether he will be disciplined by the NFL.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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The former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home in 2017 is scheduled to be released from prison next week. Mohamed Noor is scheduled to be released from custody Monday. He received a new sentence in October of nearly five years in prison after the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a third-degree murder conviction against him for killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen. The decision vacated a prison term of 12 ½ years that Noor had been serving. Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, said in an email to The Associated Press that his release after a “trivial sentence” shows disrespect to the wishes of the jury that convicted him.

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The rights of LGBTQ students would become enshrined in federal law and victims of campus sexual assault would gain new protections under new rules proposed by the Biden administration. The proposal comes on the 50th anniversary of the Title IX women’s rights law. It's intended to replace a set of controversial rules issued during the Trump administration by then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The current education secretary, Miguel Cardona, says Title IX has been “instrumental” in fighting sexual assault and violence in education. The new proposal is almost certain to be challenged by conservatives, and it’s expected to lead to new legal battles over the rights of transgender students in schools, especially in sports.