Executive Director and Counsel for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Lisae C. Jordan, Esq. joined Catherine Rentz, Investigative reporter for the Baltimore Sun, Mark Greenblatt of Newsy and Senator Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel County) on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 FM this week to talk about efforts in the state to improve sexual assault investigations.
The panel discussed the high rates of exceptional clearance of rape cases, proposed legislation to improve Maryland’s response to sexual assault survivors, and the importance of sexual assault forensic evidence collection.
“As community members we have to do everything we possibly can to support and lift us these brave women and men who agree to go through a rape exam. It’s not something they are benefiting from personally. Yes, there can be great satisfaction in bringing a rapist to justice, but this is something they are doing to help protect a whole community from a sex offender.” said Jordan.
You can listen to a full version of the show here.
Additionally, a disturbing Baltimore Sun survey recently revealed that Baltimore-area police departments prompted sexual assault survivors to waive their rights to an investigation 223 times in 2017 and 2018. Survivors were sometimes asked to sign the waiver directly after the assault, or while in the hospital completing a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. Asking survivors to waive their right to an investigation while the individual is dealing with the immediate aftermath of trauma goes against best-practices recommended by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and other experts. MCASA views this practice as atrocious and unjust.
As Lisae Jordan, Esq. said, “Given what we know about memory and emotions and how people process trauma, it’s totally and completely inappropriate”.
A spokesperson for the Baltimore County police, which had 172 sexual assault survivors waive their rights over the past two years, stated the police department has disbanded the practice after inquiry from the Baltimore Sun. Anne Arundel County police department has also discontinued the outdated practice.
To read more about this injustice to survivors click here.