Michigan AG blasts company selling at-home sexual assault evidence kits

RICHFIELD, OH - January 27: A sexual assault evidence collection kit in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Laboratory on January 27, 2016, in Richfield, Ohio. (Photo by Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)

Michigan officials are warning against "MeToo Kits" -- sexual assault evidence kits described as the "first ever sexual assault evidence kit for at-home use."

Attorney general Dana Nessel announced Thursday her office has sent a cease and desist to a Brooklyn-based company selling "MeToo Kits" that she says is violating Michigan's Consumer Protection Act. 

According to the website, "With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary factual evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault."

"This company is shamelessly trying to take financial advantage of the 'Me Too' movement by luring victims into thinking that an at-home-do-it-yourself sexual assault kit will stand up in court," said Nessel.  "Nothing could be further from the truth. Career prosecutors know that evidence collected in this way would not provide the necessary chain of custody." 

Nessel said it's unlikely private labs would have access to the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which is a national DNA database created and maintained by the FBI, and that would prevent them from identifying unknown suspects or repeat offenders. 

Additionally, the attorney general's office said the MeToo Kits don't fulfill many sexual assault survivors' needs -- it's not just about collecting evidence. 

"A medical exam is significantly important because it can identify and treat injuries and provide medications for the prevention and treatment of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and injuries," according to the office. "Medical professionals also help victims identify resources for emotional support. Medical forensic exams also involve taking photographs, documenting injuries, and conducting a thorough anatomical investigation by a qualified professional in an appropriate setting."

The kits also come at a cost to survivors, while sexual assault evidence collection kits are free in Michigan to anyone who seeks medical help within 120 hours of the assault. An evidence kit is part of the exam, which, by law, is free to survivors.

The attorney general's office said they issued a Notice of Intended Action on Thursday, which gives the company a chance to stop conducting business and "engaging in unlawful business practices."