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  • Utah Democrats Challenge Thatcher on Rape Victims
    by Anna Thompson, utdems.org
    Published - 06/19/14 - 08:48 AM | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Man Drugging a Woman's Drink
    Man Drugging a Woman's Drink
    (SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) – Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice interim committee meeting, during a presentation on Rep. Seelig’s HB157 - Rape Kit Processing Amendments, Senator Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley) questioned the value of sexual assault kits currently untested in Utah’s backlog, suggesting that they do not have evidentiary value and therefore efforts to eliminate the backlog do not deserve funding. Utah Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon issued the following statement Wednesday,

    “I worry that Daniel Thatcher just doesn’t get it. These victims have endured a terrible sexual assault, and then had to submit themselves to an incredibly invasive process and exam. The legislature’s job is not to prioritize these cases, and these victims. All sexual assault kits have evidentiary value, because all sexual assault victims have value. In this modern age of DNA testing and crime evidence, Utahns deserve more and better representation.”

    Thatcher’s comments begin at ~2:07:00 of the recording, a transcript of the quote follows:

    Thatcher: Thank you Mr. Chair. Evidently I need some clarification, it has been four months since session so maybe my memory is already fuzzy. I was under the impression that law enforcement had basically explained to us that if there is a kit with evidentiary value there is absolutely no reason that they would not have sent that kit foreword. That what is being called a backlog is, in fact, kits that for whatever reason, -whether it’s not having a strong case, whether it’s the accused admitting to the facts that would be established by the kit ,and it’s only a question of consent - or, for whatever reason, that this isn't so much a backlog of valid, valuable evidence, as kits that were collected but not necessarily needed. Did I misunderstand that, has the situation changed?

    Presenter: I think that is accurate in your understanding but I think what law enforcement is doing, and we have Detective Boardman up here to talk about that too, and I appreciate his comments, but what I think law enforcement is doing is evaluating those untested kits. Going back taking a look, just to see. At least some of the agencies are deciding whether or not, maybe…I don’t want to say something the slipped through the cracks or not, but maybe something did. Or maybe in an attempt to link some cases together, maybe they will be submitting those to the laboratory.

    Thatcher: Okay well I just want to reiterate to this committee and to any public that is listening the very same commitment I made as the chair of the appropriations committee for criminal justice. I don't want to spend limited valuable resources for an issue that is merely perception. But I will tell you right now, if there is a single kit with evidentiary value that is not being processed, that is absolutely completely unacceptable and there is no excuse for that not being funded. If that is the case, we will fix it. We need to know is this a legitimate backlog of evidence, or is it simply we are trying to put a perception of doing more because this is such an emotional issue?

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