Michigan AG to seek subpoenas in probe of home kits for sex assault victims

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will move ahead with an investigation of a product pitched as a do-it-yourself kits for sexual assault victims after a judge granted her authority to submit subpoenas.

Nessel has said the item marketed by the Me Too Kits Company offers “absolutely no benefit" and warned that the kit "would completely compromise critical evidence" needed to hold suspects accountable.

The MeToo do-it-yourself sexual assault kit is marketed with the idea that you should be able to take back control.

Last month, she told the company that it violated several sections of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act.  

A notice of intended action was issued Aug. 29, giving the company a chance to cease and desist from engaging in what Nessel's office described as unlawful business practices, her representatives said in a statement Monday.

The company had 10 days to provide the office with assurances of voluntary compliance, including an agreement that it would not sell the kits to Michigan consumers, according to the release. 

"While the company’s attorneys have spoken with assistant attorneys general in the department’s Corporate Oversight Division, there has been no agreement as to the resolution of Nessel’s concerns that the company was engaging in several unfair trade practices made unlawful by the Michigan Consumer Protection Act," state officials wrote.

That paved the way for Nessel to file a petition seeking authorization for subpoenas, which include a demand for documents explaining representations that appeared on the company’s website, according to the release. The subpoenas also will compel corporate representatives to provide investigative testimony.   

“Sexual assault evidence collection kits are free in Michigan to those who seek medical attention for a sexual assault,” Nessel said Monday. “Not only would this so-called ‘evidence kit’ fail to address the health needs of many sexual assault survivors, but it would completely compromise critical evidence needed to hold an assailant accountable by failing to ensure proper chain of custody."  

Medical forensic exams used for sexual assault investigations also include photographs, documenting injuries and conducting a thorough anatomical investigation by a qualified professional in an appropriate setting, said Nessel.