True justice for NYC sexual violence victims

By Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters
New York Daily News
Jul 12, 2022

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into the NYPD’s handling of sexual assault cases. This is a very big deal, and it’s quite possible the remedy should lead to additional federal oversight of one of the police department’s most important functions.

Here’s why:

The failure to properly investigate sexual assault runs broad and deep within the NYPD. In 2018, while in charge of the Department of Investigation (DOI), the city’s inspector general, we issued a report showcasing NYPD’s Special Victims Division’s (SVD) egregious failure to properly investigate sexual assault. The findings from our report were gravely disturbing. The department knowingly and egregiously understaffed SVD for many, many years. Further, the officers in SVD were woefully undertrained.

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters analyze the significance of the ASA passed by New York State.

In an Op Ed published today in Gotham Gazette, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters write that in light of the Supreme Court’s apparent imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade, the fight over women’s rights will likely move to the various states’ capitals. In that regard, one piece of good news from New York’s State Capital is the passage of the Adult Survivors Act, modeled after the Child Victims Act.

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In an Op Ed in the New York Daily News, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters urge the new NYPD police commissioner to overhaul sexual assault policing

In an Op-Ed in today’s Daily News Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters explain that improving the way NYPD investigates sexual assaults must be a priority for the new NYPD commissioner.
They write “As [police commissioner] Sewell moves forward with both addressing the increasing violence in New York City and reforming the department, we urge her to ensure that these reforms include another crisis of violence: The NYPD’s failure to properly investigate sexual assault against women.”
Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters are the founding partners of the law firm Peters Brovner and have represented multiple victims of sexual assault.

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DOJ Announces Plan to Turn Up the Heat on Corporate Criminal Conduct and Urges Stronger Compliance Programs

By Lesley Brovner & Mark Peters

Last Month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco gave a speech to the ABA in which she discussed certain DOJ priorities that amounted to a much more aggressive stance toward corporate criminal conduct. Indeed, in emphasizing the seriousness of this policy shift, Monaco stated that “corporate crime has an increasing national security dimension.” More substantively, Monaco stated that DOJ will “surge” resources to these types of cases and make clear to line level prosecutors that they are not to shy away from hard cases even if they will, from time to time, result in acquittals.

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Argue for the Passing of the Adult Survivor Act

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Pen Opinion in Favor of New York’s State Senate Passing the Adult Survivor Act for the Gotham Gazette.

Brovner and Peters explain the importance of Passing the Adult Survivors Act now so that victims of sexual assault can finally begin to get the justice they deserve.

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters are the founding partners of the law firm Peters Brovner and have represented multiple victims of sexual assault.

Read the full article here.

New York State’s Sexual Abuse Lookback Statutes Explained by Lesley Brovner & Mark Peters

By Lesley Brovner & Mark Peters
September 14, 2021


1. What is the New York Child Victims Act?

In February 2019, New York State passed a “lookback window,” the Child Victims Act (CVA), extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York.

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Peters Brovner is proud to have filed this latest Child Victims Act case

July 1, 2021

Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed Against Public School (P.S.) 189 – The Bilingual Center, New York City District #17, Former P.S. 189 Teacher Jean Pamphile, The New York City Board Of Education, The New York City Department Of Education

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Lay Out Why They Support the Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against the Mayor and the NYPD in the Gotham Gazette OpEd.

Brovner and Peters write, “This Mayor and his police commissioners have repeatedly shown an unwillingness to make needed changes even when confronted with evidence of problems. If they haven’t taken steps they’ve known were needed for the last seven years, it’s hard to imagine they will do so now. For this reason, we’ve reached the point where a federal monitor to force change on the NYPD is the best option for this Department.”

Their opinion is informed by their five year-experience of running the City’s Department of Investigation, which oversees the NYPD’s Inspector General, during which time they “issued several reports on systemic failures that were largely brushed aside by the NYPD’s top leadership and the Mayor.”

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Join Distinguished Panel for the 33rd Annual Accredited CLE Update on Dec. 10-11.

The 2-day event was hosted by Carver Financial Services and included 2 judges and 9 speakers. In their session on Dec. 10, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters discussed employers’ duties and responsibilities in reporting the misconduct of their employees. They also discussed the ethical considerations and best practices surrounding these issues, including best practices with an eye toward minimizing misconduct at the outset.

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters pen letter to the editor criticizing NYT Magazine coverage of child abuse law enforcement

The letter was written in reaction to Michael Winerip’s piece about Operation Net Nanny, an online sting operation to catch child predators that snared hundreds of men and appeared in the New York Times Magazine on Sept. 13, 2020.

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Co-Author Law360 Article on How Employers Should Handle the Reporting of the Criminal Activities of Their Employees to Law Enforcement

In this Law360 Expert Analysis article, which was excerpted from a longer Lexis Practice Advisor article, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters guide employers on reporting criminal activities of their employees to law enforcement. This article also briefly discusses steps employers can take to minimize their risk of liability via compliance programs and reporting.

Read the full article.

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Co-Author Lexis Practice Note Article on Employers Reporting Criminal Activities of Their Employees to Law Enforcement

In this Lexis practice note, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters provide practical guidance regarding employers’ reporting criminal activities of their employees to law enforcement. The article delves into the following topics:

  • Federal reporting requirements
  • State general criminal reporting requirements
  • Potential liability for failure to report and “willful blindness”
  • Minimizing risk and liability through internal compliance programs and reporting
  • Decreasing risk of claims brought by employees after employers report their alleged crimes

Mark and Lesley have decades of experience in law enforcement, serving at the highest levels of government. Peters Brovner LLP is a boutique law firm focusing on internal investigations, white collar/regulatory defense and litigation.

Read the full article.

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Co-Author New York Law Journal Article on What to Do When You Get a Subpoena

June 23, 2020

In this New York Law Journal article, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters explore how counsel can best respond to subpoenas and other information requests from local and state entities in anticipation of COVID-19-related fraud and other investigations.

Lesley and Mark provide useful insights about how the expected uptick in fraud claims will play out and how best to respond based on their time at the New York State attorney general’s office, as well as their years running New York City’s Investigation Department.

Read the full article here.

Lesley Brovner Featured in Practising Law Institute (PLI) inSecurities Podcast on Fraud and the Cares Act

Partner Lesley Brovner and Fabio Leonardi (the Assistant U.S. Attorney & Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator for the Northern District of Texas) discussed the various types of fraud that could occur as a result of the CARES Act on the latest edition of Practising Law Institute (PLI)’s #inSecuritiesPod with Chris Ekimoff and Kurt Wolfe.

Lesley delved into how fraud in the CARES Act might compare to fraud in other large government spending programs, the landscape of the anticipated enforcement response, the ways in which NYC faces different Cares Act spending issues than the rest of the country and the time frame for prosecuting fraud in the CARES Act.

Listen to the PLI fraud podcast.

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Presented a Celesq West LegalEdcenter CLE program on the Importance of Oversight of the CARES Act and Beyond

On June 15, Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters presented a Celesq West LegalEdcenter CLE program on “The Importance of Oversight of the CARES Act and Beyond.”

The program explored the potential for fraud related to the CARES act and the need for vigilant monitoring by government Inspectors General. Lesley and Mark reviewed the history and jurisdiction of both the federal IG movement and New York City’s Department of Investigation. They examined fraud and government responses in other comparable spending programs as well as discussed current investigations and reports concerning the CARES Act.

Download the audio recording of the presentation here.

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Lesley Brovner Featured in National Association of Women Business Owners

May 29, 2020

Lesley Brovner was featured in a National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) NYC Q&A, which looked at her career path and why she enjoys what she does. When asked why she chose to become a lawyer, she said, “I’ve always been focused on using my legal knowledge and skills to achieve justice and the best results for the people I represent.” She noted that her ideal client is someone who, “needs help conducting an internal investigation or dealing with a regulatory agency or governmental investigation. ”

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Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters Co-Author Article for the New York Law Journal on the Importance of Oversight of the CARES Act

May 6, 2020

Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters co-authored an article for The New York Law Journal titled, “The Importance of Oversight of the CARES Act.”

The article delves into why a massive spending program such as the CARES Act needs close oversight to protect it against fraud.

Lesley and Mark served as First Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner at the New York City Department of Investigation during the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy and spent over a decade prosecuting fraud in other government spending programs including 9/11 recovery, the WIC program and Social Security. Through their experience on these programs, they note that massive spending programs are invariably victimized by fraud.

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Peters Brovner Sues City to Require Planning Transparency

Press release 

Feb 24, 2020

Lawsuit Challenges De Blasio Administration’s Proposal to Curb Hotel Development in New York City

Administration Acted in “Bad Faith” by Attempting to Hide the Economic Impact of the Proposal by Restricting Public Analysis to Only One Area of the City Despite Plans to Apply Proposal Citywide 

Plaintiff Seeks Full Public Accounting of the Impact of the Administration’s Citywide Plan to Require Special Permits for All Future Hotel Construction 

Late last year the De Blasio administration green-lighted a proposal to require that new hotels in the Union Square district obtain “special permits” prior to construction. This is the latest step in what the Mayor, during a rally at the Hotel Trades Council, admitted was a plan to require such special permits for all new hotels to be built anywhere in New York City. The special permit process is so onerous – requiring ULURP review and City Council approval – that it will essentially preclude any new hotel construction.

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De Blasio vs. Honest Government: Why is the Mayor at war With a City Council Effort to Ensure Truthful Testimony?

New York Daily News

Article by Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters

February 21, 2020

Over the past three years, the country has witnessed an erosion of democratic norms in Washington, the president’s recent refusal to allow witnesses to testify at his impeachment trial being just one prominent example. Unfortunately, we may be seeing this disturbing trend play out in local government here in New York as well.

Earlier this month, the de Blasio administration came out in opposition to a proposed law that would require New York City officials who testified before the City Council to correct the record if they subsequently discover that their testimony was inaccurate. The bill was designed to close a loophole that exists because, while the law clearly prohibits making knowingly false statements during testimony, it does not create an obligation to correct false statements that might have been made unknowingly.

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Two Troubling Trends Collide in City Homeless Outsourcing

Gotham Gazette

Article by Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters

December 12, 2019

Last week the City of Newark sued New York City over New York’s placement of more than a thousand homeless individuals and families in Newark, through the city’s Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) program. Under the program, New York City employed private brokers to find homes for the families in New Jersey and elsewhere, and, without checking to see if the homes were habitable, paid a full year’s rent in advance and left families to live there. The result was thousands of families sent out of the city into homes that were uninhabitable.

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How to fix this insane mess: Where de Blasio should look in his 30-day review of how the city handles serious mental illness

New York Daily News

By Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters

October 21, 2019

In response to the murders of four people in Chinatown and the subsequent violent attack on a 6-year-old boy in Queens, both allegedly by mentally ill homeless men, Mayor de Blasio announced a 30-day review of how the city uses intensive mental health interventions to make sure potentially violent people struggling with serious psychological problems receive the treatment they need.

If the mayor is serious about meaningful reform here are some of the fundamental issues the review must consider.

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Private contractors require better government oversight

 City and State New York

By Lesley Brovner and Mark Peters

August 21, 2019

In late July, it was revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration had functionally outsourced safety checks on the doomed 737 Max to the airplane’s manufacturer, Boeing. The FAA relied on Boeing to conduct safety analyses on the new planes and failed to rigorously oversee the process. Moreover, the FAA never fully understood the intricacies of the safety issues involved. The tragic results, two crashes and a grounded fleet, have been well documented.

Also last month, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report that found the “MTA’s homeless outreach program didn’t do much outreach.” While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent millions to have a nonprofit provide services to homeless people who live at Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station, the nonprofit workers did an average of only 2.2 hours of outreach per shift, spent most of their time in an office, which they often kept closed, and filed false and incomplete daily reports. The comptroller’s office found that the MTA did little to oversee the program, resulting in failures that posed dangers to both homeless people and commuters.

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