ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM TONG SEEKS INFORMATION FROM DO-IT-YOURSELF RAPE KIT MANUFACTURERS
(Hartford, CT) – The Connecticut Office of the Attorney General has sent letters to the manufactures of the "MeToo" and "PRESERVE" "do-it-yourself" rape kits seeking information regarding representations and implications by the companies that their kits will yield evidence admissible in criminal prosecution.
"Contrary to their representations, there is no guarantee that any evidence self-collected by these DIY kits complies with Connecticut standards or will ever be admissible in court. Use of these kits could permanently hinder a survivor's ability to seek justice," said Attorney General Tong. "My office has sent letters to the manufacturers of the MeToo and PRESERVE kits to determine whether representations made by these companies may have violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. We take this matter extremely seriously. Efforts to profit off survivors' trauma do a grave disservice to us all."
This matter was brought to the attention of the Office of the Attorney General by the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
"The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence strongly opposes the sale of at-home DIY rape kits as marketed by the company MeToo Kit. Connecticut has legal protocols for the use of sexual assault kits (a/k/a rape kits) which protect the victims of sexual assault. These protocols include qualifications of an examiner, chain of custody for the kit, types of medical information gathered and admissibility of the kits in court. Additionally, there are measures to ensure that sexual assault victims are protected and cared for during a very vulnerable time," said Lucy Nolan, Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. "The company asserts that owning the MeToo Kit will act as a deterrent to sexual assault as a fire alarm is to a house fire. Not only is that a baseless and unrealistic proposition, but it also plays into the false narrative that victims are responsible for their sexual assaults. The Alliance has grave concerns that a company purporting to support victims/survivors of sexual abuse are promoting their product as a bonafide and safe outcome of the #metoo movement. Institutions could be in the position to ignore the result of the kits, silencing both the victim and the attack. We urge the targets of this marketing campaign, the higher education community and individuals, not to engage with the MeToo Kit."
“The Division of Criminal Justice is certainly concerned about the potential admissibility of evidence collected by using these products. Rather than use products such as these, which may or may not be admissible in a criminal prosecution, we encourage the victims of sexual assault to seek immediate medical attention at a hospital. Connecticut law already has addressed some victims’ understandable uncertainty to immediately seek criminal charges. In Connecticut, victims seeking medical attention can submit to a sex assault evidence investigation kit at no cost and remain anonymous. In the future, within the statute of limitations, victims can come forward and make a complaint. At that time, the retained samples taken by a trained professional can be submitted as evidence," said Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane.
Assistant Attorney General Brendan Flynn, Consumer Protection Department Head Mike Wertheimer and Legal Investigator Caylee Ribiero are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.