Friday, August 30, 2019

AG Nessel threatens legal action over at-home rape kits

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 12:31 PM

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Attorney General Dana Nessel is threatening to take legal action against a startup company in Brooklyn that offers at-home rape kits.

Marketed as the "first at-home kit for commercial use," the MeToo Kit claims to "provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault."

Nessel argues evidence collected from the product likely won't "stand up in court," making it a terrible alternative to the free rape kits available to victims in Michigan.

"This company is shamelessly trying to take financial advantage of the ‘Me Too’ movement by luring victims into thinking that an at-home-do-it-yourself sexual assault kit will stand up in court,” Nessel says in a news release. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Career prosecutors know that evidence collected in this way would not provide the necessary chain of custody. And it is unlikely any private lab would have access to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System, a national DNA database created and maintained by the FBI), which would significantly limit the ability to identify unknown perpetrators or repeat offenders."

Nessel sent the company a "notice of intended action" on Thursday, warning the business not to sell the product in Michigan, citing the state's Consumer Protection Act.

Nessel also said the kit fails to address the need for a medical exam, which is intended to "identify and treat injuries and provide medications for the prevention and treatment of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and injuries."

“There is absolutely no benefit here for victims,” Nessel says. “In addition, some of the pitches the company is making actually demonize the process that allows the justice system to work. A victim should never be discouraged from reporting an assault and seeking the professional care he or she needs.”

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