Council members offered their initial reactions to the city's rape statistics Monday, some saying they look forward to seeing the results of the investigation to draw better conclusions about the issue.

Councilman James B. Kraft, who heads the council's public safety and health committee, said he believed there were many layers to the problem of the apparent lack of rape reporting. He said he would like to see if the high number of rape cases thrown out is a "police problem or a prosecution problem."

"I think we have to get all of the players involved, not just the Police Department," Kraft said. "I don't think we can do a fair and accurate assessment without taking a look at both of them."

After the audit is complete, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said in a statement that he has asked that city council members further "examine police investigative practices."

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who volunteered and sat on the board at the domestic abuse shelter House of Ruth in Maryland, said she was most disturbed by the revelations about detectives' alleged tactics during their investigations of rape cases.

She said she hopes that the audit will give police and the public a refresher course about what it means to be a victim.

"Women are already reluctant to make those reports," she said. "I know from experience that we have to make it easier, not more difficult, to overcome their fear and their shame to say, 'I'm a victim of rape. Help me.' "

erica.green@baltsun.com

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

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