Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rape kits being delayed Investigation shows

Investigation of Rape Kits
(CBS) Sarah Fitzpatrick is an intern for the CBS News Investigative unit in New York

In November 2009, a five-month CBS News investigation revealed that more than 20,000 rape kits at police departments around the country were never sent to crime labs for testing. The two-part series titled Rape in America: Justice Denied also found that kits that are submitted may not be tested for months, or even years, due to lengthy backlogs at forensic testing facilities. CBS News found kits waiting to be tested for up to a year in Kentucky, three years in Alaska and eight years in Louisiana.

The testing of rape kits is crucial for prosecuting rapists and preventing future assaults, as research suggests that 71 percent of rapists are repeat offenders.

Following the CBS News investigation, federal and local authorities around the country are taking steps to ensure the timely testing of rape kits.

On Nov. 18, 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee about how the Justice Department would ensure that evidence collected in rape cases is ultimately tested by crime labs.
Holder responded, “Mr. Chairman, I not only pledge that we should, we have to work on this. For every crime that remains unsolved, there is a rapist who is potentially still out there and ready to strike again."

New federal legislation aimed at reducing the rape kit backlog was introduced at the end of November in the House. Resolution 4114: Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act of 2009 would require states that receive federal justice assistance grants to have all rape kits sent to crime labs for analysis, eliminate rape kit repayment requirements for sexual assault victims and authorize additional funding for rape kit testing. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

The move in the House was followed up by a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the topic in December where advocates, policy experts and representatives from police departments across the country testified about the importance of testing rape kits.

A closer look finds rape kit policies shifting nation-wide:

- The San Antonio Police Department changed its policy in response to the CBS News report and will now test all rape kits from cases where the victim did not know the attacker. The department also confirmed to CBS it will begin testing 178 kits from stranger rapes that it had not tested in the past.

- In Santa Monica, all rape kits now are sent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for processing. Previously, it was left up to detectives which kits would be sent or placed in storage. The department reported that they have already begun testing
- The Houston city council announced that it had authorized funding to test 4,000 kits that remain in backlog at the Houston Police Department crime lab.

- The state of Michigan received a $650,000 grant to test 400 of the estimated 12,000 untested rape kits currently in storage at the Detroit Police crime lab.

- The Illinois Attorney General introduced new legislation that would make Illinois the first state in the nation to mandate the submission of sexual assault evidence for testing. The bill passed in the Illinois house and is currently awaiting state senate approval.

- In February, CBS affiliate WREG-TV in Memphis conducted a similar investigation, and found that only 6% of all rape kits collected in Memphis was being sent to the local crime lab. In response the Memphis Police Department announced it had changed the policy and would send all of their rape kits from now on to the state lab.
This is good news, and yet incredibly disgusting with the slack mannered handling of these womens lives.  How many of these are serial rapists and go undetected.? the average rapist does not get caught untilhis 8th assault. EIGHT....

 CBS news video  only 25% result in arrests  , warning this might shock and anger you.


  1. This is shocking. Wonder how many rape kits would not be sent if the chief of police or mayors wives were the victim?

  2. Right I know? Last May, here in Houston, the crime victims fund ran too low, so the rape survivors were sent bills and dunning notices for their own rape kits. Imagine that stunner. 6 months after you try to piece your life back together, you get a nice little reminder and collection notice.