New disturbing details have emerged in the case of California plaintiff Heather Marlowe, who was drugged and raped in 2010. Despite her repeated requests over the course of years, the SFPD failed to test her rape kit — and now they’re being sued as well as the city of San Francisco.
After failing to get answers from the SFPD, Marlowe began to investigate on her own and found that she was far from alone. The Bay Area alone has thousands of rape kits in storage that have never been examined while U.S. has an estimated 400,000 rape kits that have been left untested, many of which hold valuable information to link cases about repeat offenders.
“Heather Marlowe’s case illustrates the systemic indifference by the San Francisco Police Department and law enforcement in general to crimes against women,” attorney Irwin Zalkin told TheBlaze. “A deliberate policy not to test rape kits and diligently investigate allegations of rape amounts to a denial of equal protection of the law as guaranteed to all crime victims. Just because rape cases are difficult is not an excuse to ignore women’s rights.”
In addition to failures of the police to test DNA evidence in her case, Marlowe describes a law enforcement office that failed to investigate her case if she was not ready to lead the investigation by reengaging with her attacker.
According to the lawsuit, Marlowe was taken by a police officer to the house where she said she believed the incident to have occurred during the annual Bay to Breakers event in San Francisco.
“[Officer Joe] Cordes instructed Marlowe to make contact with suspect, and flirt with him in order to elicit a confession that suspect had indeed raped Marlowe,” the federal lawsuit filed earlier in January alleged. “Cordes also instructed Marlowe to set up a date with suspect to prove that Marlowe could identify suspect in a crowd. Cordes told Marlowe that if she refused to engage in these actions, SFPD would cease its investigation of her rape.”