Salzman calls Buck and media to task on SANE programs

Media commentator Jason Salzman hit the nail on the head with his latest Huffington Post column where he deconstructs Republican senate candidate Ken Buck’s claim to have started a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) program in Weld County.

As Buck has been criticized for his handling of a 2005 rape case, he and his spokespeople have pointed to the fact that he created a Weld County SANE program as evidence of his concern for rape victims. Problem is he did no such thing.

Just as Salzman did, The Colorado Indpendent also interviewed people involved in SANE programs and got the same answers Salzman got.

From his column:

It turns out that no hospital in Weld County has a functional SANE program, so rape victims in Weld County are transported to Loveland Medical Center of the Rockies, in Larimer County, for the specialized care provided by SANE-trained personnel, according to Susan Webster, SANE Coordinator at the Loveland Medical Center of the Rockies.

According to Webster, Buck had nothing to do with starting the Loveland SANE program, which serves Greeley, Ft. Collins, and Loveland, Longmont as well as all of Larimer County, Weld County, and portions of Boulder County.

The Colorado Independent talked again this morning with the rape victim in the “buyer’s remorse” case. She was working as a rape victims’ advocate in the Greeley area at the time of the alleged attack. This is what she told us.

“It’s important to recognize that this is who Ken Buck is; he’s not only someone that is unwilling to admit when he’s made a poor decision, whether it be unfortunate words, or refusing to prosecute a strong case, he is also someone that takes responsibility for others hard work.

“SANE programs are amazing and I truly wish that when he said that he had helped to implement one in Weld County that he was telling the truth. Sadly this is just one more example of Ken Buck not serving victims in his own community and relying instead on others to pick up the pieces.

“Loveland is a 20 minute drive away from Greeley. Can you imagine arriving at the Greeley Emergency room after being raped, just to be told that you are going to be transported to another hospital 20 minutes away? That’s not serving the victims, that’s making things more difficult for them.

“It’s important to note that there was no SANE program at all for victims in Weld County while I was there. The closest one was Fort Collins and we didn’t take victims there. Victims were seen at Northern Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, not only before Ken Buck was DA but also while he was DA. The Loveland program is relatively new,” she said via email.

“It is progress to have victims being seen by SANE nurses but I’m torn on whether it really serves them when they have to be moved to a different hospital, especially when it’s likely that they have to foot the bill for that transportation. That just doesn’t make sense to me,” she concluded.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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