Lawmakers should act on report’s findings

A blue ribbon panel has issued a 47-page report on changes the Minnesota Legislature should make in setting standards for law enforcement and prosecutors when it comes to investigating and processing cases of sexual assault. We can’t imagine the Legislature will ignore this report.

This all comes about as a result of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and its stunning exposé this year of how law enforcement and the justice system have failed sex assault victims. Too often, victims have to convince police that a crime has even been committed. Slipshod investigations lead to prosecutors who won’t take a chance on a “he-said, she-said” case. Rape kits go untested, and as a result of all this, rapists go free to rape again.

The reports by the newspaper and the panel hold up an unpleasant truth, forcing those in power to take a look, and as a result corrective action looks like it’s going to be taken. Legislators should take this matter seriously, and law enforcement need not wait for then to act to start working on the problem.