BATON ROUGE, LA (March 21, 2024): SEXUAL TRAUMA AWARENESS AND RESPONSE® (STAR®), a leading nonprofit dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual trauma, improving systems response, and creating social change to end sexual violence, strongly condemns the decision made by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner-Elect, Christopher Tape, to eliminate the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. SANEs are registered or advanced practice nurses who receive specific education and clinical training to provide comprehensive healthcare and evidence collection to sexual assault patients.

The Department of Justice has long declared, “research shows that programs with trained examiners, such as sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), . . . significantly increase evidence collection and investigation in sexual assault cases. Better evidence collection results in significantly higher prosecution rates, convictions, and guilty-pleas.”

In 2015, STAR, along with other stakeholders including coroners, law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, crime labs, and hospitals worked to unanimously pass legislation (ACT 229) to ensure sexual assault survivors in Louisiana have access to the expertise and support of SANEs.

The St. Tammany Parish SANE program currently provides services for the Louisiana Department of Health Region 9, including Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes. Cutting the SANE program in St. Tammany will leave thousands of survivors without access to highly-trained forensic examiners. The decision to cut the SANE program is a grave disservice to survivors of sexual assault in the parishes affected by this move. It sends the chilling message their experiences are not valid, nor is their pursuit of justice and healing a priority, perpetuating a culture of silence and impunity surrounding sexual violence.

STAR urges the St. Tammany Parish Coroner-Elect to reconsider his shortsighted decision and prioritize the well-being and rights of survivors. We call upon community members, advocates, and elected officials to join us in demanding the preservation of the SANE program. Together, we can ensure that survivors of sexual trauma receive the care, support, and justice they deserve.

Interested parties and members of the press should direct inquiries to Morgan Lamandre at (225) 615-7093 ext. 104 or


STAR is a local, 501(c)(3) non-profit with a vision of building a healthy community free from oppression and sexual violence. STAR’s mission is to support survivors of sexual trauma, improve systems response, and create social change to end sexual violence. STAR has offices in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans and provides services to survivors in Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Grant, Iberville, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Tammany, Vernon, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes. For more information, please visit