Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rape kits in Wasilla

A friend of mine was watching last night's "Daily Show" in which Jon Stewart (blessed be he) said something about the police department of Wasilla charging women for rape kits while she was mayor. My friend wants to know if this is true.

This much at least is undisputed: during Sarah Palin's term as mayor, women in Wasilla who were sexually assaulted or claimed to be so were charged for "rape kits," used by law enforcement to collect forensic evidence in the case of sexual assault. The kits range in cost from $300 to $1200, according to this article at Salon.com.

McClatchy Washington Bureau reported the following:
Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill -- signed into law by (then-Governor Tony) Knowles -- that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.
What is merely speculative is whether then-Mayor Palin approved or even knew of this practice.

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