Reader Opinion: Brainerd PD can do better


“If you’re ever raped, your instinct will be to take a shower and clean yourself off. Don’t do it. Go to the police as soon as you can. Once the evidence disappears, you can never get it back.”

This is the advice my mother gave me as I was coming of age. It's the advice I’ve since passed on to my own kids, hoping they’ll never have to use it. So when I saw last week’s KARE 11 report revealing that the Brainerd Police Department destroyed far more untested rape kits than any other surveyed department in the state, my feelings ranged from shock, to disgust, to betrayal, to shame for our community.

The United States Department of Justice recommends that rape kits be stored for at least 50 years, even in uncharged or unsolved cases. The Brainerd Police Department must immediatly update their practices to adhere to this recommendation. There are no excuses not to. I believe they also owe a public apology to all sexual assault victims who have come to them seeking justice, as well as protection for themselves and other potential victims.

To Michelle, the woman who bravely agreed to a public interview with KARE 11, thank you for telling your story and shining a light on this dark corner of our community. I hope that one day you will find justice and closure.

Victims of sexual assault who need help can find an advocate at .


Kay Paulus


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