Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations

Minutes - June 17, 2019
Office of the Chief State's Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Attendance: Maureen Platt Chair, Scott Casper M.D., Linda Cimino, Denise Covington, Marielle Daniels, Candida Fusco, Karen Jubaniyk, M.D., John Leventhal, M.D., Brian Narkewicz, Lucy Nolan, Kristin Sasinouski, Laura Varelas

The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.

The minutes from the March meeting were reviewed and approved.  (Casper/Daniels).

Linda Cimino gave the Bill Paying Subcommittee report. She stated that we are within our budget for the current year and the new rate enacted by the Commission several years ago has been instrumental in our ability to remain within our budget.

Denise Covington gave the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) report.  She stated there are currently 28 SAFEs in the program. She stated that there is a new fall class planned. She said to date this year the program has been activated 238 times and has accepted 179 cases. She said over a ten-year period the program has been able to have an 85 percent acceptance rate. Denise stated that a new focus of the SAFE program is training hospital personnel who are not employed by one of the 8 SAFE hospitals.

Denise further reported that the new guidelines contain a section on collecting evidence from suspects. Although Connecticut SAFEs do not collect evidence from suspects, it is part of the training curriculum nonetheless.

The issue of victim notification regarding the results of their sexual assault kits was discussed by Laura Varelas. The subcommittee has developed a form to provide information to the victim on how to obtain such information as part of their discharge instructions. It was agreed that members of the Commission will review the document developed by the subcommittee and will vote on-line regarding its acceptance. 

Kristin Sasinouski gave the report regarding the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant. She stated that all kits from the 2015 SAKI grant have been tested. She stated that the kits involved in the 2017 SAKI grant are currently being processed. 

Senate Bill 796 has passed. This bill establishes a 14-member advisory committee to establish procedures and policies for Connecticut SAFEs. It also allows only those individuals who have received training through the Judicial Branch SAFE program to call themselves SAFEs. 

Marielle Daniels has been working with the Connecticut Forensic Lab regarding the tracking of sexual assault kits. She reported that a new edition of the hospital training video has been produced and is being sent out to hospital shortly for training purposes.

Dr. Leventhal reported that effective June 30 he will be stepping down as Director of the Yale Child Abuse Program, but that he will remain with the program on a part-time basis. The Commission unanimously passed a resolution thanking Dr. Leventhal for his many years of hard work and dedication to victims and his patients. (Cimino/Varelas)

It was agreed that Dr. Leventhal will send Chairman Platt the language approved by the subcommittee regarding the need for minor consent to perform the sexual assault exams, and that the commission will vote on whether or not to accept the language by email.

The Commission agreed that the standing committee making revisions to the technical guidelines should again meet. Denise Covington agreed to serve as its Chair. 

There was a motion to adjourn by Cimino and Fusco.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:19 p.m.