Fears of getting infected with the coronavirus have prompted authorities in Northern California to allow some sexual assault victims to collect evidence with a nurse directing them in the hourslong process through a video call.
The temporary measure put in place in Marin County after shelter-in-place orders were issued last month to stop the spread of the virus raises issues of evidence contamination and other problems that would be challenged in court, defense attorneys said.
Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Lana Nassoura said Thursday the temporary measure doesn’t apply to victims of sexual assault who are children or who have been injured and is allowed when the victim is comfortable and able to conduct the forensic examination on themselves.
“The last thing we want is a victim not reporting the assault to law enforcement because they’re worried about getting sick, so we wanted to give them an option to be able to do that without those concerns,” Nassoura said.
She said the measure also aims to protect the nurses who normally conduct the prolonged examinations in small rooms and who lack the proper equipment to protect them from exposure to the virus.
So far two sexual assault victims…