Reporting Sexual Assault in Hermiston - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Reporting Sexual Assault in Hermiston

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It's a sad reality, but many sexual assault cases go UN-reported across our nation each year. Officers and nurses in Hermiston have a message for all victims of sexual assault- they are there to help.

Randy Studebaker is the supervisor for all sexual assault cases in Hermiston. Studebaker says sometimes reports come in "days, weeks and even years later." Reporting cases too late is something Lieutenant Studebaker is hoping to change.

"I would like to DE-mystify this process, I would like to remove the stigma," said Hermiston Police Lieutenant Randy Studebaker.

Not only does Studebaker want to remove the stigma, but let victims know HOW to and that they CAN report cases comfortably.

"The best case scenario for the investigation, and for a victim, is when a victim reports immediately after an assault occurs," said Studebaker.

Following the report, victims have the option to have hospital nurses collect evidence. In fact, Susan is a nurse with the Good Shepard Hospital in Hermiston and says- it's best to report cases no later than five days after they occur.

"We can go ahead and collect that evidence.If the victim was kissed on the neck or something like that, then we can collect some evidence there," said Susan. "We just want to do what's right for them."

Ultimately, the victim is in control of how much evidence they want the nurse to collect.

"The victim is in charge. They are driving the car. We are just here to help them," said Studebaker.

Law enforcement officers and nurses encourage victims at the very minimum to have an examination done, when they can safety get to a hospital. And for Randy Studebaker--

"When you are able to  get a case through the prosecution. I think it's very rewarding," said Studebaker. "I think it's important that somebody knows that somebody cares and is willing to put that much effort in."

Even if you dont wish to go through with the court process, evidence will be safety stored the state's crime lab in case a victim ever decides to move forward with the case.