Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More On Sarah Palin Rape Kit Controversy

Via Jill Filpovic: Irl Stambaugh was Sarah Palin's original police chief when she became Mayor of Wasilla City. Palin fired Stambaugh and the library director Mary Ellen Emmons because they did not support her policies. Emmons took issues with Palins inquires into censoring books. Stambergh later took Palin to court and lost.

Huffington Post reporter Jacob Alperin-Sheriff asked Stambaugh about billing victims for rape kits. The response was quite interesting.

It turns out that Wasilla did not bill sexual assault victims for the cost of rape exams while Irl Stambaugh was chief of police. As chief, he had included a line item in the budget to pay for the cost of such exams. He had only just heard about the Mayor Palin/Chief Fannon policy today, and was just as shocked to hear about it as I was.

Stambaugh is saying that the policy changed under Palin and Police Chief Charlie Fannon. The City of Wasilla web site records contain this pdf file.

The Finance Department searched all financial records on our system for fiscal year 2000, 2001 and 2002. There are no records of billings to or collections from rape victims or their insurance companies in our system. The financial computer system goes back to the beginning of fiscal year 2000, and accounts receivable backup documentation goes back six (6) years per our records retention schedule.

A review of files and case reports within the Wasilla Police Department has found no record of sexual assault victims billed for forensic exams. State law AS 18.68.040, which was effective 8/14/2000, would have prohibited any such billings after that date.

That says more about the city's crappy record keeping than about a now well-known policy. There was deep cut in Fannon's budget. Fannon publicly supported the victims' pay policy.

Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.

In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.

"Palin wasn’t the head of the Wasilla police department," Jill Filipovic wrote. "But in a town that tiny, it’s difficult to imagine that she didn’t know what was going on — especially when the issue was important enough for the state legislature to intervene. 'Shame' is certainly the appropriate word."

If Palin is to be taken at face value then she is to incompetent to manage her own police department. That is hardly the kind of experience John McCain wants to tout. The more likely answer is Republicans are so obsessed with tax cuts that sexually assaulted women don't equal into their equation. This is what happens when Republicans help Grover Norquist drown government in a bath tub. Norquist has been clear that no tax dollars should help the less fortunate.

"Because to do that, you would have to steal money from people who earned it and give it to people who didn't. And then you make the state into a thief."

That quote explains why trickle down economics is a sham and Palin and Fannon could becold-hearted enough to make victims pay twice.

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