Incapacitated Sexual Assault of College Students: Sexual Assault Nurse Expert (SANE)

Incapacitated Sexual Assault of College Students: Sexual Assault Nurse Expert (SANE)

An 18-year-old female first-semester freshman at a local college came into the emergency room at 5 am on a September Saturday morning requesting a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) to find out if she had been raped, though she adamantly refused to press charges due to personal reasons not related to this incident. It was the policy of our facility to collect all evidence of suspected rapes and save the kits for three months in case the alleged victim changed his or her mind and wanted to press charges at a later date. The kits were released to the local police who store and maintain chain of custody.

The college freshman reported she was invited to a frat party by a male who was a senior at that time. She stated he was so nice to her, but then she became dizzy and passed out while drinking punch. When she woke up, her clothes felt funny, kind of twisted and not on correctly. He told her she slept on the couch, and no one bothered her.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Expert (SANE)

SANE’s are trained to collect and document all relevant physical, emotional and verbal evidence. In this case, the alleged offender’s name, school address and a thorough description, including piercings, tattoos and any birth marks were documented on the SANE exam report.

. A thorough head to toe examination was performed with pictures and descriptions of any bruises, swabs of body fluids collected in addition to an internal exam with a speculum looking for internal signs of bruising and swabs of body fluids.

Outcome of SANE Exam

A few months had passed when a sexual assault investigator called me to tell me the semen collected from this case was entered into a national data base that populated a match with eight other rapes over the past few years and there could be more. This case was a good example of why SANE’s should perform the exams even when the victim is unwilling to prosecute the offender.

How Can a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Expert Assist an Attorney?

A Sexual Assault nurse can prepare photographic and written reports and testifies at trial in the related cases in which she has conducted the exam.  Most commonly, the SANE expert is called by the prosecutor.

Attorneys utilize high quality SANE expert in pursuit of justice for their clients.  Whether the attorney’s client is the accuser or the accused, the expert knowledge of the SANE is invaluable in interpretation of the forensic examination and Standards of Care.

Rebekah Mead, MSN Ed., BSN, RN, FND, COHC, CDER, OHN has many years of experience as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) as well as Diploma in Forensic Nursing.  She is available to assist you with your next sexual assault case.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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