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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin's Town Charged Rape Victims for Forensic Exam Kits During Palin's Term as Mayor

Pioneer Press (McClatchy):

Speaking to a teleconference audience of reporters around the nation, former Gov. Tony Knowles and current Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein — both Democrats — accused Palin of misleading the public in her new role as the vice-presidential running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While some of their complaints have already been aired, Knowles broke new ground while answering a reporter's question on whether Wasilla forced rape victims to pay for their own forensic tests when Palin was mayor.

True, Knowles said.

Eight years ago, complaints about charging rape victims for medical exams in Wasilla prompted the Alaska legislature to pass a bill — signed into law by Knowles — that banned the practice statewide.

"There was one town in Alaska that was charging victims for this, and that was Wasilla," Knowles said.

A May 23, 2000, article in Wasilla's newspaper, The Frontiersman, noted that Alaska state troopers and most municipal police agencies regularly pay for such exams, which cost between $300 and $1,200 apiece.

"(But) the Wasilla Police Department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests," the newspaper reported.

It also quoted Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon objecting to the law. Fannon was appointed to his position by Palin after her dismissal of the previous police chief. He said it would cost Wasilla $5,000 to $14,000 a year if the city had to foot the bill for rape exams.
"In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims' insurance company when possible," Fannon told the newspaper. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer."

An effort to reach Fannon by phone Wednesday was not successful.

Palin should get asked this one on the record.