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

Minutes of the Meeting of September 19, 2011

Office of the Chief State's Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

In Attendance: Chair Maureen Platt, Candida Fusco, Linda Cimino, Denise Covington, Laura Cordes, Patti LaMonica, Michelle Noehren

Minutes from the June 20, 2011 meeting were accepted.

The meeting was called to order at 3:07 p.m.

The Chair reported on two hospital trainings, sponsored by the Commission, that were held at the Ct State Forensic Lab on July 27 and August 5, 2011. Copies of the new Technical Guidelines for the CT 101 Sexual Assault Kit were distributed. Denise Covington, Joy Reho, Anna Doroghazi and Bethany Hamilton were presenters. Almost every hospital in the state sent at least one representative.

Denise Covington reported on the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) program. She reported that to date, the program has served 115 patients. SAFE currently has fifteen nurses working in the program. Several more are in various stages of training. Ms Covington stated that she recently participated in a training at Wesleyan University on the topic of sexual assault on college campuses. In November, the SAFE program will be featured at the Nurses ASCEND Training and a training by the CHA for Hospital Trauma Coordinators. A camera system is being introduced in order to better document a victim’s injuries. A discussion was held about whether there should be a special consent form for victim consent before photos may be taken of genital areas. Ms Covington stated that she would attempt to develop such a consent form before our next meeting. A discussion was also held about whether it is necessary for an examiner to take photographs of normal examinations, especially those of a normal genital area to document a lack of injury. It was decided that the Commission should also re-visit this subject.

Linda Cimino reported on the Bill Paying Subcommittee. She reported that the Committee’s budget has been cut, and depending on the number of bills submitted for examinations, the fund may face a deficit situation. She submitted the following report:

Report of the Bill Paying Subcommittee (PDF Format - Size 99K)

A discussion was held regarding the decertification of the Ct State Forensic Lab, and the backlog of untested sexual assault kits. It was agreed that the Commission should again discuss this topic on the next meeting.

A possible revision to the Technical Guidelines was also discussed. Currently the regulations require that any anonymous kit be turned over to the law enforcement agency where the hospital is located. This has resulted in a large number of kits being turned over to police departments located in large cities even though the underlying cases actually belong to another department. There have been many complaints about this policy from various police agencies who claimed that they have been unfairly burdened by being required to assume responsibility for another agency’s kit. It was agreed that a possible revision to the Guidelines will be discussed at the December meeting.

The Commission welcomed Laura Cordes to her first meeting as a Commission Member. There is also an opening on the Commission for a physician/ gynecologist to be nominated by the CT Medical Association. Members were asked to submit the names of possible candidates to the Chair as soon as possible.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:29.

The Next Commission meeting will be held on December 12, 2011 at the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, 300 Corporate Place, Rocky Hill from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Members are urged to bring their calendars to that meeting so that the 2012 Commission meetings may be scheduled on that date.