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Palin Did Not Charge Victims for Rape Kits

A couple weeks back, I posted on a news report circulating the blogs that provided at least a prima facie case that the City of Wasilla Police Department was charging victims for its rape kits. I’ve been keeping my eye on the news reports for this, and I can now confidently report that this charge is false.

Despite claims to the contrary, there is no record that the Wasilla Police Department ever charged rape victims under Sarah Palin’s leadership, nor were State law enforcement or sexual assault victim’s advocates aware of such attempts anywhere in Alaska as the proposed bill was being discussed. As committee minutes show, the offenders experts were worried about were hospitals, not police, and not Sarah Palin.

That is indeed excellent news. Like I said, that would have been a pretty horrible policy for Palin to have been a part of, and I am happy to be able to say that it just isn’t so.

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About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. Steve Plunk says:

    Be it Twain or Churchill who said it, a lie gets half way around the world before the truth gets it’s pants on. In this case the media got it all the way around the world. I wonder how many other falsehoods about Palin the media fueled?

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  2. Hoodlumman says:

    Steve, the ‘Independence Party’ and ‘Fired Librarian/Banned Books’ smears are just a couple more off the top of my head.

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  3. Bithead says:

    And yet another anti-Palin roumor falls.

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  4. Alex Knapp says:

    Steve,

    I didn’t really see this one reported on much in newspapers, just blogs.

    Hoodlumman,

    My understanding on the AIP situation is that Todd Palin was a registered member of the party and that Palin had attended meetings in the past (though I don’t think she was a member). Is that not the case?

    I also understand that the “fired librarian/banned books” issue turned out to be justified to a certain extent in that Palin asked about procedures for the books and members of her staff had a particular book in mind.

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  5. Michael says:

    And yet another anti-Palin roumor falls.

    But not before it’s done the damage it set out to do.

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  6. rodney dill says:

    That is indeed excellent news. Like I said, that would have been a pretty horrible policy for Palin to have been a part of, and I am happy to be able to say that it just isn’t so.

    Nice to say now, but you’ve been Ga-ga over Obama so much that you more than a little harsher in your original post, (excerpted below)

    That said, there’s a good case to be made that Palin was aware of this policy. For one, as Mayor, Palin forbade city officials from talking to the press unless it was cleared by her first. Given that the article directly quotes Chief Fallon (a Palin appointee and political ally), the prima facie evidence would lead one to believe she was aware of what Fallon was going to say about the policy.

    Second, I don’t think that Palin could brush this off as saying that she wasn’t involved in police policy because she was, as mayor, intimately involved with the Police Department. For one thing, she was one of the group of Wasilla citizens who fought to install a Police Department in the first place (to her credit, I might add.) Also, as Mayor, she made several policy directives towards the department, including (again to her credit) encouraging police officers to stop patrolling in cars and start getting to know the neighborhood.

    Given the above, I don’t think it’s fair to say necessarily that Palin explicitly supported this practice. However, as Mayor, the buck stops with her. She probably knew that the policy existed, and if she didn’t she sure as hell should have—Alaska is notorious for its high rates of rape (2.4 times the national average), so it’s not as though this is something that wasn’t going to affect her citizens.

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  7. Michael says:

    Nice to say now

    That and $3.75 will buy you a gallon of gas. The problem wasn’t his tone, the problem was that is was a non-story from the beginning. There was no “case to be made” and any logical person could see that.

    Like I said in response to Bithead, debunking the story now is irrelevant, because it did what it was made to do. It’s like the “Obama is a Muslim” stories, they were meant to embed that idea, that meme that the person is bad, into people’s minds. Even after you issue a correction to the story, that impression stays behind.

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  8. Alex Knapp says:

    Michael and Rodney,

    With the information present at the time, the 2000 article published by the Frontiersman seemed to make a case that the rape kits were being charged by the police department to rape victims or their insurance company. The article quoted Wasilla’s police department as being opposed to the policy. Given that Wasilla was a small town, I did not find it unreasonable that Palin may have been aware of the policy, but as stated in what is excerpted, I was explicit that there was no definitive case.

    I have kept my eye on this and concluded that the charge was false. However, on the day I posted it, I thought there was a strong enough case to raise the issue and ask questions about it. You are free to disagree with me on whether the case was there from the beginning, but my purpose wasn’t to “smear” Palin, or else my tone would have been conclusory and dismissive of any case to the contrary.

    It’s not a wrong to raise questions when you have some preliminary evidence that a proposition might be true.

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  9. Michael says:

    You are free to disagree with me on whether the case was there from the beginning, but my purpose wasn’t to “smear” Palin, or else my tone would have been conclusory and dismissive of any case to the contrary.

    I never thought it was your intention to smear her, but I do think that you got taken along on the “some say” band wagon, and the end result was the same.

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  10. Bithead says:

    It’s not a wrong to raise questions when you have some preliminary evidence that a proposition might be true.

    Perhaps.
    But in light of the long list of absolute crap tossed at Palin, part of which I posted here the other day, this supposition gets a little thin.

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  11. FredW says:

    “Wasila PD did not charge any victims for rape kits” and “Wasila PD paid for any rape kits needed” are not the same thing.

    I don’t know how many rapes were reported in the relevant time period. A comparison of that and the number of rape kits the Wasila PD did pay for would be informative. I can see a rape victim told “pony up $1200 before we’ll investigate” might cause a victim to say “never mind.”

    I am not saying this happened. But show me evidence where the Wasila PD paid for x rape kits and then I’ll let you have you point.

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  12. Brian says:

    Rodney

    For one thing, she was one of the group of Wasilla citizens who fought to install a Police Department in the first place (to her credit, I might add.) Also, as Mayor, she made several policy directives towards the department, including (again to her credit) encouraging police officers to stop patrolling in cars and start getting to know the neighborhood.

    This is harsh?! What an irresponsible and monstrous tone from a “ga-ga” Obama supporter.

    Michael

    debunking the story now is irrelevant

    Really? So how late is too late to get the facts straight? Are you more interested in the truth or just the timing of a story, truthful or not?

    Seriously, Alex has fact-checked himself on more than one occassion. Who does that? I read lots of blogs and I don’t ever see it. Am I to suppose that he’s the only one ever to be wrong?

    Some credit is due here, I think. Otherwise, it just looks like rivalry for rivalry’s sake, and no interest in facts at all.

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  13. just me says:

    It’s not a wrong to raise questions when you have some preliminary evidence that a proposition might be true.

    Well considering the initial report included no comments from Palin I think the real thing to raise is the concept of further investigation rather than attacking.

    I think there is a difference when there are quotes or comments, but one problem with the initial article is that it used one comment from the police chief to indict Palin for something that the city didnt do and also reading the police chief’s quote-his belief was that the police department shouldn’t be absorbing the cost for them, but that they should be part of a restitution package the offender has to pay for. So his quote really didn’t have much to do with Palin, and in a lot of places the police chief’s comments weren’t even used correctly.

    I can’t remember how much the mainstream media picked up on this story-I confess most of the places I have seen it have been in the blogsphere, and I am curious to see if some of the places that ran with the story have corrected the initial error.

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  14. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If, because you disagree with someone polically, you are ready to believe anything negative about them or what they may or may not have done. While that may be human. It is something the news media should not engage in. European new media are bias, but that bias is known. In this country news is bias but claims to be balanced. If you think news is balanced notice how the media has vetted Sarah Palin yet B. Hussein Obama can make the statement William Ayers is just some guy living in his neighborhood and get away with it. No investigation concerning Obama and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. You people do not seem to realize or care this man is a marxist.

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  15. Michael says:

    Really? So how late is too late to get the facts straight? Are you more interested in the truth or just the timing of a story, truthful or not?

    Okay, you seem to have completely missed my point, which was an objective analysis and not a moral argument. A murder apologizing for a murder is technically a “good thing” no matter if it comes directly after the crime, or right before his execution. But in either case, the victim is already dead.

    Seriously, Alex has fact-checked himself on more than one occassion. Who does that? I read lots of blogs and I don’t ever see it. Am I to suppose that he’s the only one ever to be wrong?

    I applaud Alex for fact-checking himself, OTB bloggers are better than average at that, which is part of the reason I read. However Alex should have never made the insinuation in the first place, fact-checking before hand (which I did) showed that there was not enough evidence to support the claim. It’s harder to praise somebody for admitting they were wrong, when they should have been capable of knowing they were wrong in the first place.

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  16. Michael says:

    I can’t remember how much the mainstream media picked up on this story-I confess most of the places I have seen it have been in the blogsphere, and I am curious to see if some of the places that ran with the story have corrected the initial error.

    The only time I remember seeing it outside of blogs was a mention on the Daily Show.

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  17. Michael says:

    If, because you disagree with someone polically, you are ready to believe anything negative about them or what they may or may not have done.

    B. Hussein Obama can make the statement William Ayers is just some guy living in his neighborhood and get away with it. No investigation concerning Obama and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

    It’s very rare that someone is capable of such insightful introspection, and then so aggressively refuse to apply that insight to themselves.

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  18. [...] Palin Smear disproved. And, another. Etc, Etc. Etc. Meanwhile, did you know that Obama and Biden both helped to keep the [...]

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  19. just me says:

    The only time I remember seeing it outside of blogs was a mention on the Daily Show.

    Well I won’t expect a retraction/correction then.

    I do think the blogs and the media are pretty quick to believe whatever they hear about Palin and I think their fact checking has been rather haphazard and the corrections pitifully weak.

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  20. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Michael, have you read anything by Howard Kurtz? He is investigating the CAC by getting information available, reluctantly, from the U of
    Chicago Library. Seems to indicate Obama had a much, much deeper relationship with the domestic terrorist, William Ayers. But then you will never find out from those in the tank for Obama. You can deny the truth, but that does not change the truth. Why are you people trying to foist this unqualified radical marxist on us?

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  21. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Michael, I suggest you drop in on Patericos blog. Go down about three articles and read. Then you tell me if I am trying to cast aspersions on the character of one B. Hussein Obama.

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  22. bains says:

    Zel – I think you mean Stanley Kurtz. Howard Kurtz is a sometimes tool of Obama’s campaign publishing daily in the WaPost.

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  23. rodney dill says:

    Well Brian, in using your vast intellect to only pick the most benign part of the excerpt I selected, you only prove you see my point.

    Some of the more harsh tone comes in with:

    [...]the prima facie evidence would lead one to believe she was aware of what Fallon was going to say about the policy.

    Second, I don’t think that Palin could brush this off as saying that she wasn’t involved in police policy
    [...]

    However, as Mayor, the buck stops with her. She probably knew that the policy existed, and if she didn’t she sure as hell should have.

    In comments Alex also continued

    I myself would prefer to believe that Palin was not involved in this ugly policy, but there’s a strong prima facie case that she was.
    [...]
    However, let’s look at the facts. The Chief of Police admitted that they charge victime of rape for the cost of their kits. Wasilla is a small town. The Chief was a Palin appointee.
    [...]
    if that’s true, I find that to be pretty deplorable. However, given the lack of direct quotes from Palin in the article, it remains a prima facie case. A strong case, to be sure,…

    [...]

    Hardly an attack of the caliber that many of the libiot trolls that lurk here at OTB employ, but to harsh given the ‘non-story’ status of post as based on Alex’s own words.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say necessarily that Palin explicitly supported this practice.

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  24. rodney dill says:

    Well Brian, in using your vast intellect to only pick the most benign part of the excerpt I selected only proves you see my point.

    [...]the prima facie evidence would lead one to believe she was aware of what Fallon was going to say about the policy.

    Second, I don’t think that Palin could brush this off as saying that she wasn’t involved in police policy
    [...]

    However, as Mayor, the buck stops with her. She probably knew that the policy existed, and if she didn’t she sure as hell should have.

    In comments Alex also continued

    I myself would prefer to believe that Palin was not involved in this ugly policy, but there’s a strong prima facie case that she was.
    [...]
    However, let’s look at the facts. The Chief of Police admitted that they charge victime of rape for the cost of their kits. Wasilla is a small town. The Chief was a Palin appointee.
    [...]
    if that’s true, I find that to be pretty deplorable. However, given the lack of direct quotes from Palin in the article, it remains a prima facie case. A strong case, to be sure,…

    [...]

    Hardly an attack of the caliber that many of the libiot trolls that lurk here at OTB employ, but to harsh given the ‘non-story’ status of post as based on Alex’s own words.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say necessarily that Palin explicitly supported this practice.

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  25. Brian says:

    Well, Rodney, in using my vast intellect, I chose the most benign portion to illustrate the fairness that Alex gave to the charge.

    Could have used this instead:

    Given the above, I don’t think it’s fair to say necessarily that Palin explicitly supported this practice.

    Or this, which you left out of your excerpt:

    Most of the sites who are blogging this story are, of course, stating that Palin absolutely supported this policy, which I don’t think is warranted by the evidence at hand.

    Then you say:

    …but to harsh given the ‘non-story’ status of post…

    Harsh? I don’t know. I understand, as shown above, that even Alex was unsure whether it was a genuine story. But Alex was doing what bloggers do, asking questions. As you can tell from the title of his post:

    Did Palin Approve Charging Rape Victims for Rape Kits?

    He chose to ask this question at that time because it was blogworthy, as it was circulating in the blogs. And don’t forget that John McCain had only recently chosen her as VP. At the time, she was hardly known to the majority of Americans. It is the media’s job to inform. Is the media biased? Hell yes! Should they be more equitable? I think so. Is the question still fair to ask? Absolutely.

    Like Alex stated:

    If nothing else, I’d say that this is fair game to ask more questions and gather information about.

    That’s exactly what Alex did. He asked more questions, got the information and made a better determination. In this case, he admitted his initial speculation was incorrect.

    Alex’s post-title answer to his other post-title question:

    Palin Did Not Charge Victims for Rape Kits

    What a biased liberal asshole!

    Had Obama chosen Sebelius, I would have expected to see this very type of questioning as well. But he chose someone isntead who’s had national exposure for decades, perhaps for this very reason. I personally think it was a hypocritical mistake on Obama’a part, but we aren’t talking about what I think, from my vast intellect.

    It may well be that “libiots” lurk at OTB (really?), but it was my point that your righteous indignation and knee-jerk response to ANY attack on Sarah Palin was completely unwarranted in regards to at least Alex’s post (not troll), subsequent comments, and RETRACTION!

    Alex employs some ridiculous fairness when it comes to searching for facts, at the very least in this particular case. When all the media-induced “libiots” were content to get some garbage on her and leave it out there to fester- and I saw few substantive refutations anywhere else – Alex had the good sense to search, keep an eye out, and act on better information when it was available. You should applaud those efforts, not kick him in the mouth in the midst of retraction. It only makes you look like an unreasonable Democratic mascot.

    Why should Alex have any incentive to do any more retractions now after YOU have shown the kind of unfairness that you accuse him of?! Vast intellect indeed.

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  26. Michael says:

    Why should Alex have any incentive to do any more retractions now after YOU have shown the kind of unfairness that you accuse him of?!

    Because presumably Alex posts retractions and correction because of his integrity and desire for the truth, not for praise in the comments.

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  27. Thank you Alex. But I still think it is methodologically and ethically wrong to make accusations but say you are open to anyone proving them false if they can, which is basically what you did in this instance. If no one had proven them wrong would you still be claiming this was a serious issue in the absence of any real evidence that it wasn’t?

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  28. Brian says:

    Because presumably Alex posts retractions and correction because of his integrity and desire for the truth, not for praise in the comments.

    Well, yes, hopefully this is the case.

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  29. rodney dill says:

    I wouldn’t characterize Alex as a Troll or libiot, nor would I place Brian in those catagories. If you disagree about whether Alex was too harsh, I have no problem with that. I still think it was too harsh, given the evidence I already stated. I have no problem with Alex asking the question or even his ‘it would be deplorable if its true’ type statements. I do take exception to the type of characterization that she looks really, really, really guilty…. and then underemphasize the ‘only if she did it’ as a disclaimer

    I only responded to Brian only as I thought it disingenuous of him to parse out the part of the excerpt that had no real meaning in the context of the thread.

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  30. rodney dill says:

    knee-jerk response to ANY attack on Sarah Palin

    A quick response to disparaging mischaracterizations and lies? I suspect you’re smart enough to realize that that is going to continue.

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  31. Michael says:

    Well, yes, hopefully this is the case.

    Hopefully nothing, it is the case.

    The difference between you and me, Brian, is that you seem to think Alex is a political hack who acted like a professional journalist in this correction. I think Alex is a professional journalist who acted like a hack in the original article.

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