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

Minutes of the Meeting of June 13, 2016
Office of the Chief State's Attorney
Rocky Hill, Connecticut

In attendance: Maureen Platt, Chair, Joy Reho, Brian Narkewicz, Patti LaMonica, Linda Cimino, Denise Covington and Interns for the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual VIolence, Olivia DeFilippo, Leann Hennessey, Kristina Drollinger

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

The minutes from the March 21, 2016, meeting were discussed and approved with one exception, the phrase "many other times of evidence" should be changed to read "many types of evidence."

Linda Cimino provided information about a budget cut to the Forensic Sex Evidence Exam fund. She reported that the new appropriation has been reduced by $93,450.00 for a new annual total of $1,348,010.00. This reduction occurs at a time where the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) program is expanding into Region 2 including three more hospitals. Methods were discussed to address the budget reduction without canceling the proposed expansion. The following motion, was made by Joy Reho and seconded by Patti LaMomica, and was unanimously passed by Commission members to address the budget shortfall:

Effective October 1, 2016:

a) Non-SAFE Participating Hospitals: $900.00 per Kit

b) SAFE Participating Hospitals: $650.00 per Kit

c) Forensic Assessment Providers (no change)

a. Forensic Interview: $250.00

b. Forensic Medical Exam: $400.00

c. Colposcope: $175.00

d. Labs: $75.00

It was agreed that the reimbursement schedule would be re-evaluated again in the fall as further information becomes available.

The issue of whether or not out-of-state hospitals can be reimbursed for sexual assault examinations was also discussed. It was decided that these hospitals should be reimbursed at the same rate as in-state hospitals.

Denise Covington gave the SAFE report. She reported that there a currently 55 SAFE's working in the program, and that a fall class is currently being scheduled. The case load is up this fiscal year to 218 cases.

Denise Covington also gave the report from the Standing Committee on Revision to the Technical Guidelines. She stated that the Standing Committee has established several smaller working groups including the following groups: Law Enforcement, Forensic, Adolescent and Pediatric, Healthcare and Regulatory Content. ?She reported that each working group is meeting regularly, and it is hoped that the groups will be ready to submit its recommendations to the Commission at the December 2016 meeting.

The Commission also discussed the possibility of eliminating or revising the hair collection portion of the Technical Guidelines and kit. It was decided that this matter should be referred to the Standing Committee for Revision to the Technical Guidelines for discussion and recommendations.

Public Act 15-207 was also discussed. This act appears to require that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory maintain possession of evidence even after it has finished testing related to the item. This has caused a significant storage problem. It was decided that this matter will probably require a statutory revision that should be discussed at the September meeting.

Denise Covington also discussed that the Gray Vials in the CT-400 kits are sometimes expired when the kit is opened by the health care professionals. Several possible resolutions were discussed to remedy this situation. It was agreed that Denise Covington and Joy Reho will do research on the matter and report back to the Commission at the September 2016 meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.