Detroit Clears Most Untested Rape Kits – Works to Prevent Another Backlog

Detroit Clears Most Untested Rape Kits - Works to Prevent Another Backlog

How many of the 2009 untested rape kits in Detroit have been tested?

What contributed to 11,304 rape kits going untested for so many years?

In 2009, in a Detroit abandoned police storage unit, 11,304 untested rape kits were found. Some of these rape kits dated back to the 1980s. Even more shocking in the next 5 years that followed, only 2,000 of those kits were tested.

In February of this year, Kym Worthy, a Wayne County Prosecutor vowed to end these injustices. Her office and the Michigan’s Women Foundation raised enough money for all the kits to be tested.

The Detroit News reported, that the Department of Justice did a study to find out what contributed to so many kits going untested. The study concluded that “lack of funding and other resources, and police attitudes towards victims contributed to the backlog.”

The Kits as of June 2015

Since then, almost all the kits have been tested. The Detroit News also reported that as of June 2015, 10,000 of the 11,341 kits had been tested. Out of those kits there were 2,227 DNA matches. There were also 456 matches for serial rapists.

There have already been 20 convictions as of June 2015. There are also 114 cases being actively investigated and 732 waiting to be investigated.

According to WXYZ Detroit, the Detroit Crime Commission gave Worthy’s office a grant to hire more detectives to “run down leads on these old cases.” The amount was reportedly $325,914. The money will also for the hiring of five detectives for a year.

Revamping Sexual Assault Policies

The Detroit Free Press reported that Worthy, along with the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and other organizations have been collaborating to make sure this kind of backlog never happens again.

One way they are doing this is by “revamping the policies on how they handle sexual assault victims.” The Detroit Free Press reported that the Oakland County Sheriff’s had an eight-hour training sessions on sexual assault.

Michigan Legislature passed the Sexual Assault Kit Evidence Submission Act that has now established time periods for sexual assault evidence collection kits. The Detroit Free Press reported, the time periods set for the retrieval of the kit, the investigation of the law enforcement agency, the submission to forensic laboratories, and the analyzation of the evidence.

The Detroit Free Press stated that Governor Rick Snyder singed Senate Bill 998 this past October. That created the Sexual Assault Kit Tracking and Reporting Commission. Which is reportedly an “extra layer of protection to ensure agencies conduct investigations properly.”

Other States Impacted By the Untested Kits

These kits are not just a Detroit of Wayne County problem according to the Detroit Free Press. Thirty-two other states have been impacted. One hundred and fourteen cases are currently being investigated.

Back in February of this year, I wrote an article that included other cities that also had untested rape kits. Cities like Cleveland, which had nearly 4,000, Memphis, which had more than 12,000, and Dallas, which had 4,144.

Over to You

What do you think? What needs to happen to protect the victims of sexual assault? Do you think the State of Michigan is doing enough? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.