U.S. News

Colorado high court rules sex offenders can be charged for rape kits

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Sex offenders in Colorado can be forced to pay for the medical sexual assault examinations required for their victims, the state’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

While the state already required funds to be set aside to pay for the forensic tests widely known as “rape kits,” the ruling clarifies that convicted offenders can be charged directly for the costs of tests for their victims.

Nationally, many victims of sexual assault have to pay some of the costs of rape kits. A recent study found that on average, victims with insurance ended up paying about $950 for medical services associated with rape kits.

Federal law requires states to pay for sexual assault forensic exams, but hospitals often include more services than those associated with the rape kit alone.

Monday’s ruling explicitly permits the inclusion of the services of sexual assault nurse examiners as “extraordinary” costs that offenders can be ordered to pay themselves, turning down the petitions of convicts Adam Teague and Bobby Rogers, who had been charged $702.27 and $500, respectively, for their victims’ examinations.

Reporting by Tom James; Editing by Patrick Enright and Peter Cooney