'I want justice': Sexual assault victim's DNA from rape kit used by SF police to charge her with theft

'I want justice': Sexual assault victim's DNA from rape kit used by SF police to charge her with theft
Representative photo (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORNIA: An unnamed sexual assault victim has come forward with a heartbreaking story in an interview with 'CBS Mornings' on Tuesday, October 18. The Californian woman said she gave her DNA to San Francisco police after being raped in 2016 in hopes of convicting the suspect. However, police added it to their criminal database – then used it to charge her with theft last year.

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The woman, who chooses to remain unidentified, was arrested for the crime and held behind the bar for 14 days. However, the charges got dropped after the district attorney found the source of the evidence. The matter has now been dragged under the eyes of the law as attorney Adante Pointer has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on the woman’s behalf against the city and county of San Francisco and a few police department employees. He claims that the use of her DNA was unlawful search-and-seizure.

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In the exclusive interview, correspondent Janet Shamlian asked, "If you had known your DNA was going into a general database, would you have been more hesitant about submitting it as part of a sexual assault?" The woman admitted that she would not have turned in her DNA in the first place if she was informed of that possibility.  

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Using a crime victim's DNA is illegal for federal purposes. However, it was legal in California at the time the DNA was taken from the woman. 

"What you have going on here is turning the justice system and our legal principles on their head by gaining someone's consent to the most personal thing they have in their most vulnerable moment, and then storing and cataloging that and weaponizing it against them for some unrelated purpose," said attorney Pointer.

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The show also talked to Jen King, a technology and privacy expert at Stanford University. "It absolutely raises some deep concerns. Here's a point where someone was at their most vulnerable, gave up their DNA for criminal investigation, for justice, and then had it exploited by the SFPD," King stated. 

The woman spoke further about not being willing to be treated like an animal or a pet. "I don't want no specimen of me collected in any way," she said. The police department has issued its apology on the matter. However, according to experts, the damage has been done and this could cause fear and prevent many sexual abuse victims to come forward. 

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"I want to see justice. I want to see women being protected. I want to see respect for humanity, for individuals. I want respect for myself," said the woman. 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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