Officer Lukasz Skorzewski was demoted from detective, docked 30 vacation days and suspended for 10 days without pay after pleading guilty to departmental charges of prohibited conduct during the investigation into the rape of a 25-year-old woman in 2013. But Skorzewski argues in his $2 million defamation suit that the woman’s account of the interaction that she gave to the Daily News“hurt his relationships, finances, and health.”
To recap: the victim was attending college in NYC when she was raped by a man in his Union Square apartment in January 2013; after reporting the rape to police, she relocated to Seattle. Six months later, then detective-in-training Skorzewski traveled to interview her with his boss, Lt. Adam Lamboy.
After having lunch with Skorzewski, at the time a 31-year-old married father-of-two, the officer introduced her to Lamboy, who invited her out for drinks. “Looking back, it was totally naive of me to join them,” she previously told the News. “But I was like, ‘This is really cool.’ I really looked up to them.” She recalled that Skorzewski wasn’t sure whether it was proper for her to come with them, but Lamboy insisted. “I was going through this all alone. My family didn’t know,” she said. “It felt good that they were being so nice.”
At the end of the night of drinking, they also insisted she come back to their hotel room because she was drunk: “No, no, you’ll be safe with us. Come back to our hotel, you can crash with us,” they allegedly said. At some point the next morning, she says Skorzewski climbed in bed with her and said he wanted to kiss her: “He was insistent on feeling me up…He tried to work his way up my pants, I pushed his hand away,” she said. In addition, Skorzewski allegedly told her at some point, “You’re my favorite victim.”
After this encounter, the woman says Skorzewski called her almost daily from New York for a month and was “like a big brother figure.” He stopped calling her or returning her calls, and he allegedly became angry when she confronted him about it; he also never followed up about her rape case again. The victim noted, “I think what he did was bad enough that he shouldn’t be a cop.”
Skorzewski took particular offense with that line: “The problem is that when she gave the interview to the Daily News, she was aware the statements that she made to the Daily News were for public consumption,” his lawyer, Peter Brill, told the News today. Brill admitted his client was wrong for drinking with a rape victim, but her interview with them was more extreme than what she told cops: “We believe the statements she made to the Daily News are significantly more salacious than the statements she made to the police,” Brill said. “He’s being made out to be a monster when he made a slight error in judgment. He had social dealings with a complainant when he shouldn’t have, but he did not engage in sexual misconduct with her.”
The victim, who sued the city for $3 million in September, stands by her statements. “After a fact-finding peer review, the NYPD disciplined both police officers with lost rank and/or suspension,” said her attorney Christopher Galiardo. “It’s clear that trained police officers from a sex crime unit, while investigating a potential sex crime, should not take the victim out with them on a drinking binge.”