Wasilla Paper: Under Mayor Palin, Rape Victims Charged for Own Forensic Tests

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An interesting catch by the folks over at AMERICAblog. They found an article from the Wasilla newspaper dated May 23, 2000, that notes the city of Wasilla was one of a few Alaskan municipalities that charged women claiming to have been raped for their own forensic tests. As you probably know by now, Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla from 1996-2002.

[Governor Tony Knowles] signed House Bill 270… 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…

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.

In the article, Fannon admits that halting the practice of charging alleged rape victims for their own tests would cost the city… wait for it… $5,000 to $14,000 a year.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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