Woman sues SFPD after rape kit not tested


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A rape victim who uncovered thousands of untested rape kits is taking her case against the San Francisco Police Department to the United States Supreme Court.

Rape victim and activist Heather Marlowe and her attorney were speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon outside of the LGBTQ Center in San Francisco about a petition they filed with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department.

Marlowe said she was at Bay to Breakers years ago where a stranger gave her a drink and that she said was drugged.

She was drugged and subsequently raped.

She said she reported that rape to the San Francisco Police Department.

They told her that her kit was tested but that they didn’t have the results because of a backlog at the lab.

Marlowe eventually found out that her kit was never tested, in fact, she found out that the lab wasn’t even backed up.

Instead, the police department never even sent her kit, and as it turns out, she said there are thousands of kits that were never sent either.

She caused a number of audits to be done at various facilities and they found that the untested kits were kept at offsite warehouse facilities.

She filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of her equal protection rights, claiming that rapes aren’t taken seriously and that the SFPD routinely fails to test rape kits.

After a lengthy litigation process, the lawsuit went to the 9th circuit court of appeals and that court ruled against Marlowe.

“It was dismissed at the pleadings stage,” Becky James, Marlowe’s attorney, said. “It was dismissed on the basis that the complaint failed to state a claim. They dismissed the case at the complaint stage — it didn’t even go to discovery so she could have her case heard on the merits. She took that — again Ms. Marlowe persists — she took that case to the 9th circuit and that’s when the court of appeals affirmed the district court in an unpublished decision.”

Marlowe’s now taken her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Last week her attorney filed a writ of certiorari which is basically just a request to the court to have the judges review her case.

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