Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sarah Palin's Outrageous Action?

When I heard this story on talk radio tonight, I had a hard time believing it. As much as I dislike Sarah Palin, it wasn't easy for me to believe that even she could be so cruel. But I came home and went online and quickly found many references to this story. Most or all of them appear to come from or refer to the same source, an article or column in what appears to be a progressive Alaskan website. But I would like to see this investigated and, if it's true, I would like the media to ask Palin how she could justify what she did, and I'd like them to ask McCain if he agrees with her conduct and wants such a person as his running mate.

In a nutshell, the story is that when Palin was mayor of Wasilla, a town in a state with reputedly the highest per capita rate of forcible rape in the country, the town charged rape victims for the rape kits used to examine them for evidence of rape, and when the police chief of the town asked that these kits, which can cost as much as $1200, be covered by the city budget, Palin had him fired for noncooperation and hired a chief who revoked the rape kit budget request. Thus, Wasilla did charge rape victims for rape kits until a state law was passed mandating that these kits not be charged to the victims.

I don't know about you, but I think this is one of the most outrageous things I've ever heard. I am absolutely infuriated thinking about it! Charging someone who's been raped as much as $1200 to collect evidence of the assault, and then firing a police chief because he wouldn't go along with this.

If it's true, I really do want to hear Sarah Palin and John McCain try to justify it, and then I'd like to see them scorned and then defeated by the largest landslide in the history of American presidential elections. And if the American people were as decent as they pride themselves on being, they'd make sure this happened.

6 comments:

Tom said...

I'll be interested to see how this story develops.

I think that it is unclear -- even unlikely -- that Palin dismissed the police chief specifically because of the rape kits. I will be interested to hear what Palin has to say and what the police chiefs that Palin dismissed and hired have to say.

Also, we should be careful not to assume that all women who are tested using the kits are victims; as with crimes of all types, there are instances of false accusations.

I know next-to-nothing about CSI procedures and billing. Are the expenses of an investigation only borne by the police dept/city/county once the reported crime is shown to have a modicum of merit? And in cases of a false report, is the person making the false report responsible for the expense of the investigation?

And finally, was Wasilla truly out of the mainstream in the way it handled billing for use of rape kits?

Nagarjuna said...

Tom--
You make good points. I too want to see what further investigation reveals.

I don't know if accusers have to pay for investigations stemming from demonstrably false accusations, but I think they should. However, I certainly don't think that anyone else should have to, and, whether they have or had to anywhere else or not, if Sarah Palin knew that they had to in Wasilla and was ok with it, regardless of whether she fired the police chief over his opposition to it, I still think it's outrageous of her.

Anonymous said...

I think that this story if true will like the "trooper gate" story have a lot more to it then the media at first is reporting. It is interesting how the media has so far not reported the fact that the trooper involved(Palins brother in law at the time and embroiled in a bitter divorce) tasered his 10 year old son. Tasers are not non-lethal, they are termed "less lethal" devices. People do indeed die when these are used. Any individual who would use one of these on a child not only needed to be fired from his job, but needed to be incarcerated as well. The company that makes those devices does not authorise their use on children for any cause.


Cheers
Gary

stupid progressive said...

What an evil, evil wench, those neocons have got to go.
Like I always say, McCain/Palin bad, Obama/Biden good.

Nagarjuna said...

I don't think anyone is all "good," especially one who plays the political game well enough to be the Republican OR Democratic nominee for president. But would you agree with me that charging rape victims for rape kits is outrageous and that IF Palin knew Wasilla was doing this and did nothing to stop it and may have even ordered or encouraged it, her conduct was outrageous if not evil?

Anonymous said...

Hello Again,

Well I have been able to find out that the report that Palin charged rape victims for the rape kits is absolutely false. This is the report from NAtional Review online but there are local Alaskan sources that prove it wrong as well.
The Boston Globe editors opine about Sarah Palin and the rape kit allegations. The only problem is they ignore any facts that are inconvenient to their stated position, which is, apparently, that Palin is akin to the Anti-Christ, but more evil.

It begins with the headline, "Wasilla Made Rape Victims Pay." Except that there's no evidence that any rape victim was ever charged by the town. In fact, the town has financial records indicating they did pay for rape kits during Palin's time as mayor.

The Globe writes, "The policy so outraged the Alaska Legislature that in 2000 it passed unanimously a bill forbidding such fees." As discussed earlier, in six separate hearings on the legislation, Wasilla was never mentioned. Other, much larger jurisdictions like Juneau were mentioned as places where victims were being charged. During those hearings, the deputy commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety testified that he had never found a police agency that had billed a victim.

Three times, witnesses told the committees that hospitals were responsible for passing the bill on to victims, not police agencies. If the bill went straight from the hospital to the victim, without ever being sent to the police department, this would explain why no confirming paperwork could be found in the Wasilla Finance Department. This information also fortifies Palin’s claim that she was never aware of the policy, as it is more plausible that a mayor would not be aware of a private hospitals’ billing policy than of the police department’s billing policy. (As mayor, Palin did not have policy authority over any of the private hospitals that served Wasilla.)


The editors of the Globe write:


After the Alaska Legislature banned the fees, Palin's handpicked police chief, Charlie Fannon, complained that the state's action would force the town to spend $5,000 to $14,000 a year to cover the costs. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer," Fannon said.

They do not mention that Fannon said he did not want to charge the victim, and wanted to charge the perpetrator the costs of the tests. (This may be a flawed position for several reasons, among them who pays if the perpetrator is never caught, and whether the question of who will pay prevents the rape kit testing from being done in the first place. But it is generated from the entirely reasonable position of wanting the guilty to cover the costs of bringing them to justice.) It would be interesting if the Globe's omission in describing Fannon's position, and the insinuation that he wished to charge victims, rises to the level of libel.

Finally, the Globe asserts that this comes down to Palin being a pro-lifer: "But the policy on rape kits may have had less to do with easing the burden on taxpayers and more to do with Palin's position on abortion. She has said she opposes it even in cases of rape or incest." As there is not yet any evidence generated that Palin was aware of this policy, this speculation about motive is ridiculous and insulting.


I rarely do this, but the editors of the Globe must print a retraction.

The Globe's phone is 617-929-2000; letter@globe.com . Corrections are urged to be sent to comments@globe.com and the listed phone number is 617-929-8230.


Cheers
Gary