This Sexual Assault Task Force Has Done Nothing For 10 Years

This may be the biggest FAIL of the month.

Here’s the run-down: A Louisiana Sexual Assault Task Force was created back in 2004 by the Louisiana Legislature. The 25-person task force was supposed to study who exactly was performing the forensic exams for sexual assault victims, as well as who was paying for those services.

The group was supposed to report back to the legislature in 2005, but that report got postponed to 2006. Then, the 2006 deadline got postponed to 2009. Then (we’re not making this up), that deadline got pushed back to 2012. And now, it’s 2014, and still the task force has done absolutely nothing.

All of this news comes as it was reported months ago that rape victims in the state were being billed for their examinations at hospitals. Since then, Gov. Jindal has issued executive orders which makes state funds for rape victims more accessible, so that their examinations are covered by the state.

Not by any surprise, when the individuals who were involved with the task force spoke with the Times Picayune, they passed the buck like pros.

Assistant Attorney General Emma Devillier, who chaired the task force, said that her agency had few resources to dedicate to the project, which was to be overseen by the Attorney General’s Office. When the original bill was being considered, Devillier’s office complained it was understaffed and asked legislators to allocate $76,700 to hire a new assistant attorney general and pay for travel and other expenses associated with task force operations, records show. Lawmakers rejected the request.

“It was really like giving someone a vehicle and then asking them to go from Louisiana to California and not giving them a motor,” Devillier said in a recent interview.

The group met monthly in 2005 from January until Aug. 26, Devillier said, the Friday before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and rearranged everyone’s priorities and lives.

Although the legislation states that the task force is to be housed in her department, Devillier said she all along considered it to be the work product of Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault — and she relied on that nonprofit advocacy group to finish the report, she said.

And here’s every entity that was on the task force:

The Louisiana District Attorneys Association

The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE/SART) program coordinator of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault

The Louisiana Sheriffs Association

The Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police

The Louisiana District Judges Association

The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice

The Louisiana Coroners Association

The Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory

The Louisiana Association of Forensic Scientists

The Louisiana Hospitals Association

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

The Louisiana State Board of Nursing

The Louisiana CASA Association

The Louisiana Children’s Advocacy Center

The Louisiana Department of Social Services

The Louisiana Department of Social Services

The Child At Risk Evaluation Center at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans

The Louisiana Attorney General

The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

The Louisiana State Police

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Louisiana Juvenile Judges Association

A member of the Louisiana House of Representatives

A member of the Louisiana Senate

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