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San Francisco DA Says Rape Victims Identified as Criminals via DNA

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin says the San Francisco Police Department has been using DNA collected from rape victims as part of its criminal DNA database, the Associated Press reports. He said that a woman who was arrested for a felony property crime was identified using DNA collected during a years-old rape examination. While Boudin is unaware of how many arrests have been made using DNA from victims, he will investigate the issue further, as will Police Chief Bill Scottl. He said his office "must never create disincentives" to police cooperation and that he is committed to ending the practice if it is happening.

Beyond the danger of discouraging police cooperation, Boudin said that the practice of using DNA collected from victims to identify them as suspects could violate the constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure and the California Victims' Bill of Rights. He also called the practice a slight to the dignity of survivors of sexual violence who had been through a "dehumanizing" event and still had the "courage to undergo an invasive examination to help identify their perpetrators." San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen requested that the city's attorney draft legislation to bar the use of rape kit evidence except to investigate the rape.


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