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Local sheriff reacts to rape kit legislation

Local sheriff reacts to rape kit legislation

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho - Update: Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland has responded to the outrage many are feeling after his comments earlier this week. Here is the full statement from the sheriff's Facebook page:

I have received many calls today from people all across the United States about the press release that I did on Monday. After talking to these folks and explaining what I really meant I believe they have a different prospective. I want to explain what I was trying to say in the interview. I misspoke when I said the majority of our rape cases are consensual sex. The meaning behind my statement that has been misunderstood is that when a case is called into the dispatch center each and every one is thoroughly investigated. A Deputy is sent to every one of these cases and that Deputy then in turn contacts the on call detective to help with the investigation. In some of these cases through the investigation it may be determined that the sex was consensual, but not always. In these types of cases after the investigation is complete and it was determined that the sex was consensual I don't believe that those kits should be sent to the lab. I now understand that I should have explained myself further so as to not cause this type of confusion. This has been a very humbling experience and I now know that I have to clarify myself more when speaking of sensitive matters such as this. I know that it is hard for victims to come forward on sexual assault cases. I spoke to a rape victim today and told her that I knew it was hard for her to come forward. I want to apologize to anyone who I might have offended with my statement as my main responsibility is to the public's safety and well being and maintaining their trust. I did a 10 minute interview and this is what came out of it and for that I am truly sorry.

I can also say with regret that I now know what it is like to be cyber bullied. Not only have I been threatened but so has my family. I hope that this will clear things up a bit.

Sheriff Craig T. Rowland
Bingham County

Original story: Not every rape kit in Idaho is sent to a lab and tested, and state lawmakers are looking to change that.

There's a bill that would create a statewide system of collecting and tracking the physical evidence in sexual assault investigations. Part of that bill would give clinics the responsibility of sending rape kits for DNA testing (unless the victim requests otherwise).

Currently, law enforcement is in charge of deciding if a kit should be tested.

"I really believe the Legislature needs to take a strong look at allowing law enforcement to do their job and not try to dictate what we need to do.  I think they're trying to help, I really do," Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland said. "They need to let us decide if we're going to send the kit and when we send the kits in. Because the majority of our rapes, not to say that we don't have rapes, we do,  but the majority of our rapes that are called in, are actually consensual sex. "

This bill has already passed the House, now it's going to the Senate.

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