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

Minutes of the Meeting
March 12, 2012
Office of the Chief State's Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Members in Attendance: Catherine Austin for Maureen Platt, Chair, Maureen Platt (arrived after commencement of meeting), Candida Fusco, Bob Allensworth, Tracey Brennan, M.D., Michelle Noehren, Linda Cimino, Denise Covington, Michael Custer, Laura Cordes.

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.

The minutes of the meeting of the Commission for December 12, 2011 were distributed to all in attendance.  Bob Allensworth moved that the minutes of the meeting of December 12, 2011, be accepted.  Michael Custer seconded the motion and the minutes were accepted.

Tracey Brennan, M.D. of Hartford Hospital was introduced to the Commission members.  Dr. Brennan is an obstetrician-gynecologist.  Dr. Brennan fulfills the statutory requirement of an obstetrician-gynecologist on the Commission.  At the suggestion of Linda Cimino, the commission members introduced themselves and welcomed Dr. Brennan.

Denise Covington gave an update on the SANE/SAFE program.  Ms. Covington distributed to Commission members (attached hereto as appendix 1 and 2) the Consent to Have Photographs Taken, JD-VS-32 New 1-12 C.G.S. ' 19a-112f and the Secured Digital Forensic Imaging (SDF1) System Photograph Log, JD-VS-33 New 1-12, C.G.S. ' 19a-112f.  She reported fourteen cases were reported in February and March.  Of those cases twelve utilized the SDIF (Secured Digital Forensic Imaging) System.  She described the procedure used in cases involving SDIF.

Ms. Covington reported 27 nurses are currently with the SANE/SAFE program. They continue with chart review for quality assurance, continuing education from CONNSACS and STD education through Planned Parenthood.  The Quinnipiac University course starts on March 19.

Bob Allensworth discussed the interaction with DCF cases and the SDIF program.  It was explained that SDIF is only used in the six hospitals serviced by the SANE/SAFE program.  However it is being discussed with the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at St. Francis Hospital.

Linda Cimino explained for the benefit of Dr. Brennan the dynamics of the SANE/SAFE program. Its legislative history and funding.  Ms. Cimino then gave a report on the Bill Paying Subcommittee.  Although the subcommittee has not met since the last meeting, Ms. Cimino report she is currently  involved in the legislative discussions for continued funding of the program.  Ms. Cimino discussed the sums allocated for the payment of the sexual assault evidence collection bills.  She discussed the expenses associated with the kits and the deficient present due to billing exceeding allocations.  (See Appendix 3 and 4) Ms. Cimino indicated she would provide a synopsis of her remarks for the minutes.

Laura Cordes provided a fact sheet and statistics (appendix 5 and 6) to the Committee.  Ms. Cordes reported on her meeting with Rep. Walker of the Appropriations Committee accompanied by Rep. Geoff Luxenberg.  Ms. Cordes discussed how Rep. Walker remembers how the Commission had withdrawn request for funds when federal funding had been received at an earlier date.  Ms. Cordes felt she had been received favorably by Rep. Walker.

A discussion was had by the Commission members on a revision to guidelines concerning which Police Agency should receive custody of a kit when the location of the hospital differs from the location of the sexual assault.  It was the consensus of the Commission that the kit should go to the police agency where the assault occurred.  The exception would be where the victim is unsure or does not know the actual location.  It was suggested that the guidelines include the method to accept store and transport the kit to the lab so as to preserve the integrity of the kit.

Maureen Platt, Chair gave a report on the CSP Forensic Lab Accreditation.  Ms. Platt reported the lab was up and running but a backlog exists due to the period when it was not accredited.  Ms. Platt also discussed there is a shortage of technicians at the Lab.  Ms. Platt explained they are only allowing five pieces of evidence to be explained in non-homicide cases.  The State=s Attorney must give notice of those five pieces to the lab.

There being further business to come before the Commission the meeting adjourned at 3:58 p.m.