San Francisco rape victim announces lawsuit against SFPD

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Heather Marlowe claims the SFPD's mishandling of her rape kit is one reason her attacker has never been found. (KGO-TV)

A Bay Area rape victim announced Tuesday her federal lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. She says the police department's mishandling of her rape kit is one reason her attacker has never been found.

Heather Marlowe of San Francisco claims SFPD violated her due process and equal protection by not investigating her case properly and not giving her, her rape kit test results.

I-Team: Rape survivor sues San Francisco, SFPD over untested rape kit
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A series of I-Team reports led to a push to test rape evidence kits, but the progress was so slow for one survivor she's filing a lawsuit.

"For the police to tell me that they're going to test all of the kits, and to continue to misrepresent me, I would say that's incredibly deficient," Marlowe said.

Marlowe was teary-eyed Tuesday, as she sat with her attorneys, announcing her federal lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. It all began in 2010 at the Bay To Breakers race where Marlowe believes someone spiked her drink. She woke up with a strange man and believing she had been assaulted Marlowe underwent a sexual assault exam.

Marlowe's attorney Irwin Zalkin said, "She came forward with the hope that the San Francisco Police Department would do what it is charged with doing, and that is to investigate what happened to her, to find the person who did this to her."

Marlowe's rape kit sat untested for years. It was one of thousands, as it turns out. ABC7's I-Team began reporting on the backlog and the attention eventually led to a change in state law, as well as San Francisco police policy in 2014.

READ MORE: SFPD audits sexual assault kits after I-Team investigation

Regardless, Marlowe says none of it has helped her. Her lawsuit is demanding that police release her rape kit results. She says that's her best hope for finding her attacker.

"It's more than frustrating. It's been very traumatizing," Marlowe said.

While police officials did not issue a new comment this week, they referred ABC7 to a 2014 press release where they said they've increased staffing to test DNA, partnered with private labs and cleared the backlog of untested rape kits.

Marlowe says she hopes no other woman in the future will have to experience what she endured.

If you have a tip, contact the I-Team through this page or call 1-888-40-I-Team.
Related Topics:
newsrapeu.s. & worldlawsuitlawssex crimessex crimesexual assaulttestsSFPDsan francisco countyI-TeamSan Francisco
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