Nessel: MeToo at-home sexual assault test kit is 'shamelessly' trying to take advantage of survivors

At-home kit unlikely to stand up in court

By Kayla Clarke, Mara MacDonald - Reporter

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is putting the maker of MeToo sexual assault kits on blast, warning the company not to do business in Michigan.

The New York-based MeToo Kits company is in violation of Michigan's Consumer Protection Act, Nessel said, and a notice of intended action was sent to the company Thursday.

Nessel's office said the company is marketing a sexual assault evidence kit described as the "first ever sexual assault evidence kit for at-home use."

"We are very concerned about these sales and the representations made to induce them," Nessel said. "There is a lot of danger in people thinking that this is a good method to go."

Nessel said the kits would prevent sexual assault survivors from getting necessary health care services after an assault. The kits would also likely undermine law enforcement efforts to capture, charge, try and convict rapists.

"This company is shamelessly trying to take financial advantage of the ‘Me Too' movement by luring victims into thinking that an at-home-do-it-yourself sexual assault kit will stand up in court," Nessel said.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. Career prosecutors know that evidence collected in this way would not provide the necessary chain of custody. And it is unlikely any private lab would have access to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System, a national DNA data base created and maintained by the FBI), which would significantly limit the ability to identify unknown perpetrators or repeat offenders."

According to a news release, sexual assault evidence collection kits are free in Michigan to anyone who seeks medical attention for a sexual assault within 120 hours of the assault. The evidence kit is included in a sexual assault medical forensic examination.

The release said a medical exam is important as health providers can identify and treat injuries and provide any medication necessary after an assault.

"There is absolutely no benefit here for victims," Nessel said. "In addition, some of the pitches the company is making actually demonize the process that allows the justice system to work. A victim should never be discouraged from reporting an assault and seeking the professional care he or she needs."

The company has 10 days to provide assurances that it will not sell the kits in Michigan.

"This is an extremely important consumer and public safety matter and we will pursue it accordingly," said Nessel.

Local 4 reached out to the company for comment, but we're told they would have a statement available after the weekend.

View the letter below:

Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.