Media Archive by Topic: rape kit backlog

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Nevada lawmakers allocate funds to test rape kits
December 17, 2015 • Reno Gazette-Journal
Ken Ritter

LAS VEGAS – Nevada lawmakers have agreed to allocate almost $3.7 million to test 7,500 sexual assault evidence kits languishing in police vaults around the state, including some in Las Vegas dating back 30 years.

State Attorney General Adam Laxalt told the legislature’s Interim Finance Committee on Wednesday the state is just getting started digging through the backlog.

The money includes $1.7 million from a settlement this summer with JPMorgan Chase in a debt collection practices case toward the rape kit effort.

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Congress slated to increase rape kit funding by $45M
December 16, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly

WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers are positioned to devote $45 million in the 2016 fiscal year to combat the nation’s accumulation of untested sexual assault kits.

The funding, included as part of the omnibus spending bill Congress released Wednesday, is aimed at helping local law enforcement agencies test backlogged sexual assault evidence kits and perform related activities as part of a U.S. Justice Department initiative.

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The story behind the first rape kit
Nov. 21, 2015 • CNN
Jessica Ravitz
First used in Illinois and then across the country, rape kits are making headlines as hundreds of thousands of them are being discovered backlogged, untested and, in some cases, destroyed. read more
This is why thousands of Minnesota rape kits go untested
Nov. 13, 2015 • St. Paul Pioneer Press
Elizabeth Mohr

The numbers might seem alarming: more than 3,000 rape kits sitting on shelves, untested, at law enforcement agencies across the state. And for more than 9 percent of those cases, the reason for not testing is "unknown."

But police are quick to explain that a reasonable explanation often exists for not testing evidence collected after a sex assault is reported: Sometimes victims do not want to move forward with a case. Sometimes the suspect's identity is not in question. Sometimes prosecutors decline to file charges.

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California to propose an end to statute of limitations in rape cases
Nov. 10, 2015 • Al Jazeera
Marisa Taylor
At least 16 states have no statute of limitations for rape cases in face of rape kit backlog, delays in reporting crimes. read more
Untested rape kits in Idaho raise concerns
November 9, 2016 • The Salt Lake Tribune
The Associated Press
Police chief Chris Allgood says he doesn’t want to put DNA into database if crime not committed. read more
Some advocates believe rape kit testing should not be left to law enforcement’s discretion
Nov. 9, 2015 • Idaho Press-Tribune
Ruth Brown
Advocates, legislators and law enforcement discuss current rape kit testing laws and what, if anything, should be done to change them. read more
The War on Drugs Could Be Making Our Communities More Dangerous
November 8, 2015 • Vice News
Justin Glawe

When 11 corpses were discovered in and around the Cleveland home of Anthony Sowell in the fall of 2009, there were some 4,000 untested rape kits being neglected by local cops. The deranged rapist and murderer was stopped, but his case exposed the stunning mishandling of missing persons and sexual assault cases in the city,  a problem advocates argue has festered nationwide as the war on drugs has sucked up public safety dollars that might otherwise have gone toward putting rapists and killers behind bars.

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More than 40 police agencies to get $79M to test rape kits
September 11, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly and Charisse Jones
A USA TODAY/TEGNA joint investigation finds thousands of untested rape kits sitting in police department evidence rooms across the country. Rape victims, politicians and police are speaking out, hoping to change that. read more
State Attorney's Office receives $2 million federal grant to clear rape test-kit backlog
State Attorney Angela Corey announced Thursday afternoon that her office has received nearly $2 million in a federal grant to eliminate the about 1,300 sexual-assault test kits sitting on evidence shelves at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. read more
White House, NYC prosecutor pledge $79 million to test rape kits
September 10, 2015 • Al Jazeera
Funding will go toward DNA testing on an estimated 70,000 rape kits, which are often backlogged because of expense. read more
New national funding will clear Utah’s backlog of untested rape kits
September 10, 2015 • The Salt Lake Tribune
The Associated Press
White House, NYC prosecutor pledge $79M to test the kits nationwide. read more
State Attorney's Office receives $2 million federal grant to clear rape test-kit backlog
Derek Gilliam
State Attorney Angela Corey announced Thursday afternoon that her office has received nearly $2 million in a federal grant to eliminate the about 1,300 sexual-assault test kits sitting on evidence shelves at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. read more
Nearly $80 Million Will Be Used to Finally Test Thousands of Rape Kits
September 10, 2015 • Jezebel
Anna Merlin

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch were in New York Thursday to announce that the White House has awarded $41 million in new rape kit testing grants to police departments across the country, added to the $38 million in grant money that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance already contributed. That $79 million will be used to test 70,000 backlogged rape kits across the country. Finally.

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Millions Earmarked to Clear 'Disturbing' Rape Kit Backlog
September 10, 2015 • NBC News
Kate Snow, Rich McHugh and Tracy Connor
New effort underway to clear rape kit backlog. read more
Rape, suspended in time
September 7, 2015 • Las Vegas Sun
Megan Messerly
Hoping to bring closure to victims, Las Vegas fighting to analyze thousands of backlogged rape kits that have been in storage for decades. read more
Metro Changes Rape Kit Policy After Finding Nearly 100 Unprocessed In Past Ten Years
August 26, 2015 • WSAV3
Sheila Parker

There are estimates that as many as 400-thousand rape kits in the United States are gathering dust on police evidence shelves – going untested. The issue has caused outrage and led to some reforms at local, state and federal levels. We wanted to find out what the status was here. News 3 has been looking into the problem for months .

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Why Haven't 70,000 Rape Kits Been Tested for DNA?
July 20, 2015 • NBC News
Kate Snow and Rich McHugh

Hundreds of thousands of rape kits that could identify serial sexual attackers are sitting untested by police departments across the country — despite promises and federal funds to clear the backlog, a new agency-by-agency count suggests.

Documents obtained exclusively by USA TODAY Media Network, an NBC News partner, uncovered more than 70,000 neglected forensic evidence kits amassed by more than 1,000 police agencies. That's just a fraction of the nation's 18,000 police departments, so the total number of untested kits is likely far higher.

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Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA
July 16, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly
A nationwide count by USA TODAY reveals abandoned rape kit evidence. read more
Zambuto & Prichard: Resources Needed to Test Rape Kits
July 10, 2015 • The Ledger.com
MAILE M. ZAMBUTO AND THERESA L. PRICHARD

Recently, the Joyful Heart Foundation announced that Jacksonville has 1,943 untested rape kits in law enforcement evidence storage facilities. Sadly, Jacksonville is not alone.

Despite the fact that DNA evidence can be an incredibly powerful tool to solve and prevent crimes, the federal government estimates that across the country there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits that have never been sent to a crime lab for testing.

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The risk we take with Charlotte’s rape kit backlog
June 29, 2015 • The Charlotte Observer
Maile M. Zambuto
From Maile M. Zambuto, Chief Executive Officer of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, read more
Investigative Report: How Victim-Blaming Led to the Rape Kit Backlog
June 22, 2015 • RH Reality Check
Sofia Resnick
“I honestly understand why a lot of people don’t report rape,” Kiyona Phillips told RH Reality Check in an interview. “Because if you’re not half-dead or beat in the face or it’s not recorded in any kind of way, you really have to prove that this happened to you.” -Kiyona Phillips read more
Will new focus on rape kit tests put thousands behind bars?
May 30, 2015 • Associated Press
Sharon Cohen
The evidence piled up for years, abandoned in police property rooms, warehouses and crime labs. Now, tens of thousands of sexual assault kits are giving up their secrets — and rapists who've long remained free may finally face justice. read more
We’re Letting Untested Rape Kits Languish In Warehouses And It Has Huge Consequences
May 21, 2015 • Think Progress
TARA CULP-RESSLER

Despite more than a billion dollars in public funding dedicated to helping law enforcement officials test the DNA evidence collected in rape kits, there’s still a huge backlog of untested kits collecting dust in storage facilities across the country, according to advocates who testified at a Senate committee hearing this week.

Because DNA evidence is collected on a local level, we have no idea exactly how many rape kits are languishing unopened in massive warehouses. Advocacy groups in the field believe that the total number is in the hundreds of thousands.

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Joyful Heart Reveals Rape Kit Backlog Data, but More Remains Unknown
May 20, 2015 • Nonprofit Quarterly
SHAFAQ HASAN

The Joyful Heart Foundation’s Accountability Project, an initiative that’s part of the #EndTheBacklog program focused on identifying the extent of the national rape kit backlog, has released new information detailing the number of untested kits in several cities nationwide.

Through public record requests, the foundation discovered the following totals:

Charlotte, North Carolina: 1,019 untested kits

Jacksonville, Florida: 1,943 kits

Kansas City, Missouri: 1,324 kits

Portland, Oregon: 1,931 kits

San Diego, California: 2,873 kits

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