Right after I asked myself "Why did I forget this?" I thought, "Why haven't our Alaska reporters dredged this back up yet?" And, "How many MORE stories like this does Sarah's inconvenient past STILL hold?"
This story has gone viral on the internet over the course of today, and rather than link to the original reporting in the Frontiersman, I'll quote their whole May 22, 2000 story, because it is very important:
Published on Monday, May 22, 2000 9:00 PM AKDT
JO C. GOODE / The Frontiersman / May 23, 2000
ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles recently signed legislation protecting victims of sexual assault from being billed for tests to collect evidence of the crime, but one local police chief said the new law will further burden taxpayers.
The governor signed House Bill 270, sponsored by Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage, outside the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam room at Alaska Regional Hospital. In attendance at the signing were members of victims advocate groups, law enforcement agencies and legislators.
The new law makes it illegal for any law enforcement agency to bill victims or victims insurance companies for the costs of examinations that take place to collect evidence of a sexual assault or determine if a sexual assault did occur.
"We would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence," Knowles said. "Nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies."
While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.
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 we've charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer," Fannon said.
According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.
"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.
Palmer police chief Laren Zager said that to his knowledge, no sexual assault victim has ever been billed by the city of Palmer for an exam to collect evidence of a crime. Zager, who has been police chief since January, said he would never expect a victim to be burdened with the cost of a police investigation.
"I'm prepared to pay every dime in an investigation. As long as I am chief, I would never bill a victim," Zager said.
The new bill would also make law enforcement agencies that are investigating a sexual assault responsible for the costs of testing victims for sexually transmitted diseases and emergency contraception.
As some may recall, Charlie Fannon's boss at that time was Sarah Palin. She had recruited Charlie to fulfill her agenda. This was part of it. Palin appreciated his help. She called his hire the best decision of her administration. Many times. More on that later.
The person who is going to be bringing Sarah Palin up to speed on foreign affairs over the next few weeks is Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I). Here is what Lieberman had to say about rape victims in Connecticut, hoping for the "morning after pill," back in his 2006 campaign:
Joe Lieberman supports the approach of the Catholic hospitals when it comes to contraceptives for rape victims (as reported in The New Haven Register, by Gregory B. Hladky on 03/13/2006, via KissJoeGoodbye.Com).
Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so.
"In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.
More tomorrow. Shannyn Moore is meeting with Eric Croft in the morning, possibly with more HB 270 sponsors. They will all be going through their e-mails, along with people at STAR - Standing Together Against Rape.