Washington, D.C.- Today, U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) filed H.R. 3415, the bi-partisan Megan Rondini Act, requiring hospitals to have a SAFE – Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner –available 24 hours a day/7 days a week, OR to have a plan in place to get that victim to another nearby hospital with a SAFE. The law honors young Texan Megan Rondini who committed suicide after being raped, failed by law enforcement, the University of Alabama, and the hospital.
Megan Rondini was enrolled at the University of Alabama when she was raped by a man from the richest family in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After escaping her attacker, Megan went directly to the hospital for a rape kit, and contacted the police. The Hospital did not have a SAFE, a nurse or doctor trained in forensic procedure, on staff. The DNA from her rape kit was never properly examined, and its current whereabouts are publically unknown. She was dismissed, ignored, blamed, and forgotten. Feeling like she had nowhere to turn, Megan later took her own life.
“Rape is a crime that destroys the very soul of a victim,” said Congressman Ted Poe. Often times, it is a fate worse than death. A victim must relive their attack over and over again. I filed the Megan Rondini Act to ensure victims of crime have access to assistance and the ability to pursue justice. Hospitals across the country must have a SAFE on staff 24/7 or have a plan in place to get the victim to a nearby hospital that can provide forensic services. The failures that drove Megan to commit suicide must not be allowed to continue in our society. Victims must be given a voice and the ability to have evidence collected and tested to bring them justice. This legislation helps give them both.”