Testing of 11,303 rape kits rescued from Detroit Crime Lab a long way off
13.5 million dollars to be spent on having these kits tested.
DETROIT — After the Detroit Crime Lab closed in 2008, state police found 11,303 dusty rape kits upon the shelves.
Some of them had been there for decades, their contents — and the horror stories of the women who provided them — forgotten for years.
Though raised from the oblivion of the crime lab, the kits remain far from being processed.
"I can't even speculate," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said when asked how long it may take. "A long time... It's too depressing to think about how long it's going to take."
Worthy spoke about numerous problems crippling the Detroit justice system at a Wayne State University Seminar called, "City Under Seige: A University Forum on the Crime Crisis in Detroit."
Some in the crowd gasped when she spoke of the untested rape kits.
"We have usually a woman who was raped, they went to a police department to report their rape and they willingly went to a rape kit exam — so three- to four-hour extensive exam, literally every orifice of your body is looked at and scoped and examined — and hoping... we can get some DNA and hopefully that produces a trial," Worthy said.
Department of Corrections
Shelly A. Brooks
She said 600 of the kits have been tested. The most recent "wave" of 200 resulted in the detection of 21 serial rapists among 153 test results.
One of the test kits contained DNA belonging to Shelly A. Brooks, 43, a serial rapist and killer arrested in 2006.
"Shelly A. Brooks killed and raped five more women after the date on this rape kit," Worthy said. "So that means if the rape kits were analyzed in a timely fashion perhaps, perhaps these five women would still be alive."
Worthy said the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has received $2 million grant, not for testing, but for a collaborative "to come up with a national model of what you do when you find... untested rape kits" and "to change the culture of how sexual assault is prosecuted from the top to the bottom."
She said, although the State Police Crime Lab handles all other forensic testing on behalf of the Detroit Police Department, they cannot handle the rape kit backlog.
"They can't do them all because they're already overwhelmed," Worthy said.
The kits are being sent to private labs at a cost of $1,200 to $1,500 per kit, which equates to a total cost of more than $13.5 million to test all 11,303.
Worthy said the county is seeking grants and other funding options to complete the testing.
Prosecutors have convicted one man based on the results of the kits tested so far, and another is set to go to trial soon, said Worthy.
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In: Regional News
Tags: Crime, police, violence, rape, gun control. Detroit, liberals, lazy, incompetent, tax money wasted
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States (load item map)
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