The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

February 11, 2013

Lawmakers seek to assist rape victims, police

CHARLESTON — A move is afoot in the West Virginia Legislature to provide sexual assault victims and law enforcement officials better tools in bringing criminals to justice.

Approved Sunday by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary was a bill that would create a sexual assault forensics examination board.

The idea is to get proper collection of evidence in such crimes, aiding not only the victims but police and prosecutors as well, explained legislative counsel Joe Altizer.

Altizer said the desire for such a board has been voiced in past interims sessions.

Promoters of the idea “want the nurses to be able to collect the evidence and properly preserve it so that it facilitates that evidence being used for criminal convictions,” he said.

“In many parts of the state, there are no trained nurses to collect it properly,” Altizer said.

The attorney said the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute has been instrumental in working on a statewide training course — three days of in-service and two days of Internet instruction.

A group known as Foundation for Rape Information and Services has been advocating a statewide concept known as SANE — Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

Elsewhere, Altizer noted, one law known as “the Kentucky model” mandated that each hospital have SANE nurses available around-the-clock.

“This is problematical,” he said. “And the hospital association has some concerns about it  because of the lack of availability of trained nurses.”

In many rural pockets, Altizer pointed out, travel time is great.

“And many times this evidence collection is time-sensitive,” he said. “They’re having trouble providing this service in many rural parts of the state.”

Under the bill sent out with the committee’s approval, the concept would be implemented incrementally on a statewide level.

A board to get qualified SANE nurses would be administered by the Governor’s Commission on Crime, Delinquency and Corrections.

None of the 11 members would be paid, but members would include prosecutors, county governments, health authorities, the State Police crime lab, a victim’s advocate and an emergency room physician.

Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood, wondered if a potential conflict could arise if prosecutors served on the board.

Altizer acknowledged this was the first time this question had been raised, and said the idea of the involvement by the prosecutors would be only to help set protocols.

“We wouldn’t want the prosecutors involved in an advisory capacity in individual cases,” he said.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • legion VIDEO: American Legion posts plan to merge

    To help deal with its decreasing membership numbers, Beckley American Legion Post 70 is planning a merger with Post 32.

    “We see the benefit for both of us and for Raleigh County,” Post 32 Adjutant Frank Cook said. “Right now Post 70 is having membership problems and with membership problems comes financial problems.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before hearings

     More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 31, 2014

  • legal Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

    How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers?

    Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ‘Biscuit guy’ makes his mark with anthem at TWV

    The old saying “being at the right place at the right time” couldn’t be more true for Calvin Alexander.

    Thanks to a salad dressing bottle (and some impressive vocal skills), Alexander was invited to sing the national anthem not once, but twice, at Theatre West Virginia before the opening of “Hatfields and McCoy

    July 31, 2014

  • Judge in W.Va. asked to delay gay marriage ruling

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked a judge to postpone ruling on a federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews a ruling in a similar case in Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before EPA hearings

    More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 30, 2014

  • Work continues on stand-alone Warrior Trail

    The executive director of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority said Tuesday that officials are still working toward the creation of the stand-alone Warrior Trail in McDowell County.

    July 30, 2014

  • East River Mountain Tunnel repairs will continue for several weeks

    Motorists traveling Interstate 77 could see slight delays again tonight as repair work continues inside of the fire-damaged East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 30, 2014

  • State leaders to attend coal rally in Pittsburgh

    West Virginia officials are set to join hundreds of coal miners and coal supporters at an electricity and energy jobs rally.

    July 30, 2014

  • Americans continue to be plagued by debt

    Credit card debt may have reached its lowest level in a decade, but according to a recent study on personal debt vs. income, just as more people are paying off their credit card debt monthly, nearly the same number of people are being reported for unpaid bills. 

    July 30, 2014