Idaho Sheriff Says Testing Rape Kits Is Unnecessary, Because Women Are Liars

Robyn Pennacchia | March 16, 2016 - 3:30 pm

This Tuesday, Idaho lawmakers signed off on what one would assume would be a fairly noncontroversial sounding bill meant to create a statewide standard for how rape kits are conducted and tested. The measure would also create a timeline for law enforcement agencies to send the kits into the state forensic lab.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be like “Nah, that’s not a great idea, why bother with that? Let’s just keep this as the clusterfuck it is now!” But, of course, there is always one.

Sheriff Craig Rowland of Bingham County thinks that this bill is a bad idea, because he thinks most rape accusations in his county are false anyway!

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“I really believe the Legislature needs to take a strong look at allowing law enforcement to do their job and not try to dictate what we need to do. I think they’re trying to help, I really do,” Sheriff Craig said. “They need to let us decide if we’re going to send the kit and when we send the kits in. Because the majority of our rapes, not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do, but the majority of our rapes that are called in, are actually consensual sex. “

You don’t say! Sheriff Craig says he’s pretty sure that most of the rape cases his county investigates are false accusations, either because a teenage girl got too “scared” to tell her parents she had sex, or because the parents didn’t believe her when she said it was consensual. However, if the victim endures rape kit in the first place–which is a rather traumatizing procedure–and they say they want it sent out, then perhaps it might not kill you to send it out for testing.

Given the fact that allowing law enforcement to make their own decisions about whether or not to send out rape kits has led to tens of thousands of kits going untested in this country.

According to End The Backlog, an organization dedicated to testing the thousands of untested rape kits, testing them benefits not only the victims, but also helps law enforcement officers in other cases.

When tested, rape kit evidence can identify an unknown assailant, confirm the presence of a known suspect, affirm the survivor’s account of the attack and discredit the suspect, connect the suspect to other crime scenes and exonerate innocent suspects. Jurisdictions across the country have begun to witness the benefits of testing every rape kit.

For example, after New York City, which eliminated its rape kit backlog of 17,000 kits in 2003, implemented a policy to test every rape kit booked into police evidence, the city’s arrest rate for rape subsequently jumped from 40 percent to 70 percent, compared to 24 percent nationally.

So yeah–I’m gonna say that even if this guy thinks rape victims are lying, and that their accusations are false, and even if he’s right, which he’s probably not–the benefits to testing rape kits clearly outweigh the benefit of hoarding them for no particular reason.

[NPG of Idaho]