We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin Authorized Cutting Funds for Rape Kits

Under the administration of Sarah Palin, the city of Wasilla had a policy of billing rape victims or their insurance companies for the cost of a rape kit, the forensic investigation used to collect medical evidence from a victim of sexual assault. I contended that allowing such a reprehensible policy demonstrated Palin's failure to defend women's rights.

One Palin defender wrote here that it's unfair to attack Mayor Palin for being silent on the issue or even to assume that she shared the opinion of the police chief who defended the policy. Maybe she didn't even know her police chief had been carrying out such a policy.

Palin's spokeswoman directly addressed the rape kit issue in USA Today:

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."

"Gov. Palin's position could not be more clear," she said. "To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice" [Ken Dilanian and Matt Kelly, "Palin's Town Used to Bill Victims for Rape Kits," USA Today, 2008.09.11].

So how much support for victims did Palin show by signing off on budget cuts that represented a deliberate change from previous policy and meant rape victims had to pay for their rape kits? Wasilla's first police chief, Irl Stambaugh (the Wasilla Police Department came into existence in 1993), "included a line item in the budget to pay for the cost of such exams." Charles Fannon, the chief Palin appointed after firing Stambaugh when she took office, changed the policy and cut the budget. The FY1998–99 audit showed that Stambaugh cut the contingency fund and spent almost none of it. Palin read the audit and signed off on it [see Jacob Alperin-Sheriff, "New Evidence: Palin Had Direct Role in Charging Rape Victims for Exams," Huffington Post, 2008.09.11].

So Palin's defenders are left with two logical conclusions, neither of them terribly palatable: either Mayor Palin didn't know what policies her police chief was carrying out (not a positive reflection on her vaunted executive skills) or she authorized a policy so reprehensible the Alaska state legislature felt the need to intervene to defend victims' rights.


  1. A few more details you might want to consider.


  2. ... like the National Review is going to tell the truth about this.

    Do you have a source that isn't a right-wing mouthpiece?

  3. And even that source didn't indict what was said above. Geraghty actually agrees that charging rape victims for investigations is terrible. He cites the same Comella quote I do, but fails to explain why an effective and engaged executive would not have known such a terrible policy that she allegedly disagrees with was being followed by her police chief. We're not talking a New York City-sized bureacracy; we're talking about a town of 5500 people.

    Geraghty throws some other red herrings—other places charge, the chief proposed charging the rapists, etc.—but never challenges the fundamental point: Wasilla City Government maintained an offensive, anti-woman policy under Mayor Palin's watch. The chief executive is responsible for what happens on her watch.

  4. http://www.cityofwasilla.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=544


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.