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Sheriff against rape kit law because most reported rapes “are actually consensual sex”

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A new bill that deals with rape kits is causing controversy.

BOISE, Idaho – A new bill that would introduce statewide testing of rape kits is causing controversy in Idaho.

The bill would require medical clinics to use rape kits to collect forensic evidence after a suspected sexual assault. The clinics would then have to send the evidence for DNA testing, unless the victim requests otherwise or law enforcement agencies get prosecutors’ approval to not test the kits.

An Idaho sheriff says the Legislature shouldn’t have gotten involved in creating a statewide system for collecting and tracking rape kits because many rape accusations are false.

Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland made the comments to Idaho Falls TV station KIDK on Monday before lawmakers unanimously approved the new system and sent the measure to the governor.

Rowland says legislators should let law officers decide which rape kits need testing.

“The majority of our rapes _ not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do _ but the majority of our rapes that are called in, are actually consensual sex,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Melissa Wintrow, who first introduced the bill, is criticizing the sheriff’s remarks, saying it downplays the truth in most rape accusations.

“The unfortunate and potentially unintentional consequences of making statements like that will inhibit other people moving forward and may impact the perception of his agency,” Wintrow said Tuesday.

Wintrow countered that FBI statistics show only 33 percent of people who experience rape report the crime. She added that rape disproportionally affects women.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has not said whether he’ll sign the bill.