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Tens of Thousands of Rape Kits Go Untested Nationwide

July 17, 2015  | 

The components of a sex crimes investigation kit. (Photo: Sirchie)
The components of a sex crimes investigation kit. (Photo: Sirchie)

In the most detailed nationwide inventory of untested rape kits ever, USA TODAY and journalists from more than 75 Gannett newspapers and TEGNA TV stations have found at least 70,000 neglected kits in an open-records campaign covering 1,000-plus police agencies – and counting. Despite its scope, the agency-by-agency count covers a fraction of the nation's 18,000 police departments, suggesting the number of untested rape kits reaches into the hundreds of thousands.

The kits contain forensic evidence collected from survivors in a painstaking and invasive process that can last four to six hours. Testing can yield DNA evidence that helps identify suspects, bolster prosecutions and in some cases exonerate the wrongly accused.

The records reveal widespread inconsistency in how police handle rape evidence from agency to agency, and even officer to officer. Some departments test every rape kit. Others send as few as two in 10 to crime labs.

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Jon Retired LEO @ 7/18/2015 12:25 PM

Whether or not this is a budget issue or not it is simply unacceptable. All rape kits should be tested, period.

DEADMAN @ 7/20/2015 10:56 PM

In Ohio,there were thousands,in Cleveland alone there were over 2,200 ,until the Ohio Attorney General stepped forward and told the departments to send in all of the rape kits they were just sitting on.Just recently,the commissioner of Cuyahoga County where Cleveland is located,offered up a chunk of change to expedite the testing of these Rape Kits,but ,now they are playing catch up because many of the Rape Kits are dated going back decades and a lot of them are passed the Statute of Limitations.There is an effort to extend the Statute of Limitations to catch these rapists but it could be all for naught ,it might violate somebody's rights and the just walk or it could be all for show as an election will be coming up and some of the players are running for re-election.
They had money for everything else but the Safety Forces are the first to feel the budget cuts.

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