Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin: Making Victims of Rape Pay

It remains a mystery how Sarah Palin's supporters can call her a feminist. As Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, rape victims paid the cost of rape kits used to gather forensic evidence. In 2000, the Alaska state legislature passed a bill banning the practiced. The bill was written because of Wasilla's policy.

According to the sponsor, Democrat Eric Croft, the law was aimed in part at Wasilla, where now-Gov. Sarah Palin was mayor. When it was signed, Wasilla's police chief expressed displeasure.

Gov. Tony Knowles signed the bill into law. It became illegal for Alaskan law enforcement agencies to bill rape victims for kits. The rape kits can cost between $500 to $1,200. Palin's police chief Charlie Fannon was against the legislation.

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.

Fannon thinks nothing about burdening the victim. Eric Schmeltzer reports that Fannon was hired because his predecessor led a recall against Palin. Fannon has disconnected his phone and will not talk to the media. Palin is going in damage control mode.

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said in an e-mail that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."

Then why didn't Palin change the policy? The Alaska State Troopers and other towns did not charge victims for rape kits. Why did it take the legislature and Governor to change Wasilla's policy?

Update: 76 of 100,000 people are raped in Alaska. The state has more rapes than any other state. That must be what Palin means by small town values.

Michelle Andrews reports that North Caralina is making victims for for rape test kits. "If someone breaks into your house, the state pays for the fingerprinting and DNA sample collecting," writes Amanda Marcotte. "So why not pay for the collection of evidence in rape?" Simple logic would dictate that rape victims should not have to pay for expenses into the investigation to catch rapists. Republicans are so obsessed with tax cuts that they forced the least fortunate to pay the bill. The tax shift continues.

Update: More evidence showing that paying for rape kits started under Palin's tenure.

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At September 18, 2008 2:37 AM , Blogger Forsety said...

Are you a sloppy writer, a bad reader, or just plain dishonest? One of the three, I guess. You paint Fannon into a corner as a cold fiscal conservative unwilling to shed a few bucks for rape victims, but the evidence you use to do so is lacking. You forgot to put this part in the blog post:

"Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs, Fannon said.

The forensic exam is just one part of the equation. Id like to see the courts make these people pay restitution for these things, Fannon said.

Fannon said he intends to include the cost of exams required to collect evidence in a restitution request as a part of a criminals sentencing."

It's quite possible Fannon was just covering himself at that point; the budget for rape tests was dropped and he's putting it forth as "charge the crim" than "charge the victim." Still, your coverage of his position was profoundly lacking.

At September 25, 2008 12:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They actually charge the victim's INSURANCE company...not the victim. Not one single victim of rape has been charged for a rape kit. Stop dabbling in left-wing talking points.

At September 25, 2008 5:45 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

Many people don't have health insurance. The township should have picked up the bill. End of story.


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