28 minutes | Mar 6th 2020

The Hearing

Jen Sainato had been waiting for this day for a long time. She’d woken up early, put on her black striped suit, and drove five hours to attend the Louisville Metro Council’s public safety committee meeting. The council had called the police to answer questions about their handling of rape cases, in the wake of our story about Jen’s case. When Jen walked into the council chamber, the police were already settled in at the front of the room: two press people, a few men in suits, and Lt. Shannon Lauder — the head of the special victims unit, who’d been called by the council to explain why her department clears so few rape cases by arrest, and so many “by exception.” The eight metro council members in attendance were seated as well, looking out at the room from their elevated seats. And in the audience sat the survivors — women who had reported a rape to the Louisville Metro Police Department. Women who were inspired by Jen’s story to come out and seek their own answers. For most of them, this hearing was as close as they would get to their day in court.

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