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11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Posted by dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 13:57

I am so angry that I am nearly inarticulate at that moment. So here are some exerpts from the news article instead:

Wayne County, Mich., Prosecutor Kym Worthy has seen her share of grisly crime, but even she was shocked by a discovery in 2009 at a former police storage warehouse. There, stacks of dusty boxes were found on the shelves of the warehouse. The boxes contained thousands of untested rape kits, some decades old . . . .
Worthy said that what's happening in her city is happening across the country. From Chicago to Los Angeles to Houston, cities are grappling with thousands of untested rape kits. . . .
She found volunteers on her staff to start sifting through the rape kits trying to match each one with a victim using old, handwritten police logbooks.

"We were literally blowing off dust and dirt off of those books so we can open them up and see if we can find any information in these books that would match the rape kit," Worthy said. "My prosecutors that are overworked, underpaid and have too much to do volunteered on their own time because we were all concerned about this issue."

So far, 600 kits have been tested, and investigators say that they have discovered evidence of 21 serial rapists. . . . .

Some of the kits tested have revealed sobering results. One kit from 2002 revealed DNA belonging to a man who was in prison for the murder of three women. The murders had been committed during the seven years the rape kit sat on a warehouse shelf. . . .

NBC News filed an official request for records of any internal investigation, and two months later we received an eight page document. In it, the police say once they became aware of the situation in the warehouse, they randomly pulled 36 of the stored rape kits and found there were "justifiable reasons" for not testing them. Those reasons, police say, include victims who refused to prosecute or were uncooperative and assailants who pleaded guilty to lesser charges. When NBC News showed the report to Worthy, she questioned its validity.

"Their reasons were just made-up reasons as to why there should be no investigation," Worthy said.

Worthy says the newest Detroit Police Chief along with Inspector Wilson and Sgt. Jones have been very cooperative in the effort to now test every rape kit. . . .

I'm sitting here sputtering in indignation. 11,000+ accusations of rape just simply ignored all these years! I guess all the police over the years just had too many "important" cases to investigate--so they didn't have time to investigate rape charges?

Besides, she probably asked for it?????????

Kate

This post was edited by dublinbay on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 14:02


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

I like to watch L&OSVU and saw this episode a couple of times.

"Fact: Every two minutes someone is raped in the United States.
Fact: 200,000+ rape kits sit untested in police storage in the United States.
Fact: Testing rape kits leads to more arrests. New York City�s arrest rate for rape jumped to 70 percent from 40 percent when it began testing all rape kits."

Law and Order SVU features Human Rights Watch's work on Rape Kits.

Why Are These Rapes Still Unsolved?


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Gross!


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Sobering, sad, worrisome, and extremely angering! Who do police and investigators think they are to deem rape victims unworthy of a full investigation just like any other serious crime and its victim(s) would receive?

Like any other aspect of crime, of course they'll run into victims that don't want to prosecute, but that's not the police's call to make.

This is unconscionable.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Jodi, women remain an afterthought in America's patriarchal culture. Assaults on women in many guises continue to be an enormous problem for women. I wish I could convince my students that feminist issues are not something to be avoided, but many of them are as oblivious to these concerns as their male counterparts.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Unfortunate, but all too true... I'm glad I could be the generation that abolished such thinking and ushered in a new era of thinking... about women and equality, racism and prejudice, gender and civil rights, the reality of global warming and our planet's other issues, and the list goes on.

It sickens me to think that there's still a noxious odor of patriarchal, theocratic, fascist, homophobic prejudice still hanging over our society... it's the 21st century, for crying out loud!


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

But Kate, a disappointingly high number of college age women, while they may be very up-to-date in terms of racism, civil rights, etc., really don't engage with feminist issues in any expansive sense. Alas, I hate to write that.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 17:07

So glad there is no war on women, just indifference.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Why are you all so shocked over this. It has been the case for as long as tests have been available. If you didn't know about the backlog you haven't been paying attention. The problem is endemic. The system sucks.

It isn't just about rape. It is about murder, assault, arson, accidental death, and on and on. You could write a book about it...oh, that's right, there have been books written about it and lots of reports and news articles and TV shows and documentaries. They hit the news and for a time they get lots of attention then they start gathering dust again once a new scandal pops up.

Life is not like a television show. CSI and Cold Case are fiction. Crimes are not solved in an hour. A huge number of crimes are never solved. Many do not get more than a cursory preliminary investigation before some more urgent crime pushes it to the side and it gets lost in the mass of humanity's ugliest side.

The electronic data bases and technology you see on so many TV shows are fiction. It can take weeks, not minutes, to run a comparison or test and even then that is only one data base that usually doesn't talk to the other data bases out there. There must be dozens of them. There are city, state, FBI, military and so on. Small towns may have no access at all. They have to rely on getting time in a larger system that already has too many demands on it's time. The same is true of laboratories. Once tests are run, there must be someone who understands them and can do something with the results. And then of course, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Be aware there are problems but spare me the outraged shock. There are groups out there that purport to support rape victims but they mostly just play political games. They run from one victim to the next achieving nothing except interference with investigations and stroking their own egos. If you find one that actually does some good, join them or support them. If you are lucky enough to have a good Police system, help keep them honest by supporting them.

Most rape victims wear out. They just try to get on with their lives as much as possible. Your indignation doesn't help much.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

I wouldn't call rape the type of case one should thrust aside in order to jump on another case. What makes one victim more important than another?


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

You're right, sleepless. We shouldn't care--since you've known about it forever, we shouldn't be the least bit concerned if we just found out today about it. In fact, it's rather disgusting that I had any reaction at all today since you became blase about it all decades ago. I mean, like you said, more important cases came along and replaced them, so there is no reason for me to be shocked just cuz I found out about them today.

You're right--us dumb women who didn't know enough to be upset decades ago--shame on us for not knowing. We should have cared back then--too late for us to care now.

Have I got it right, almighty sleepless?

Personally, I think your attitude is disgusting!

Kate


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

"Have I got it right, almighty sleepless?

Personally, I think your attitude is disgusting!"

Kate, maybe Sleepless speaks from anecdotal experience as well as other methods of gaining this knowledge, so don't jump all over Sleepless. And it would be nice if you kept your personal opinion private when it's so hurtful.

IMPO.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

If people read links they usually don't dismiss them with out giving some reason related to the link.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

  • Posted by jomuir z5 detroit (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 20:47

this story broke over a year ago here in Detroit. I think the worst part of the story, that's not mentioned in the snippet above, is that the rape kits were found in an old lab building well after it was vacated, by a newsperson snooping around.There was personal info also found, incl. some SSN's. So not only were the victims raped, but the crimes for the most part are unsolved, and there personal info was out there for anyone to dig through.

That crime lab was vacated after it was found that the majority of technicians were incompetent, when they finished moving what they wanted, they just left the rest.
Ugh, on New Years Eve, a married couple's car broke down on a Detroit freeway. A man came along pretending to offer assistance. Instead, the husband had a gun in his face & the wife was raped in front of him. They waited 30 minutes after calling 911, no police nor ambulance showed up. They drove themselves to the hospital.If you're unlucky enough to be a crime victim in Detroit, make sure you're in the downtown areas, cause the cops don't go to the hoods much.

Here is a link that might be useful: det. free press article 2011


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Elvis, no one appointed you to lecture me.

You have nothing to say about sleepless's put-downs of my concern over the situation, especially when I find sleepless's put-downs of me rather hurtful? You don't even seem to be aware of the scorn sleepless directed at me because I found this news disturbing.

Well, I will be concerned whether you and sleepless approve of it or not, but sleepless can take his/her criticisms somewhere else instead of directing them at my concern over the 11,000 untested rape kits.

Perhaps I should lecture you about not expressing concern about the 11,000 untested rape kits--or are you the only one allowed to scold people you don't approve of on this forum?

Kate


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

This was a scandal here in 2009 because of the backlog of unprocessed rape kits by LA Co. Sheriff's Dept, LAPD, and various other city police departments. The LAT ran the story for a few days on the front page, along with the warning that the statute of limitations was beginning to run out on the oldest kits in the backlog. Mayor Villaraigosa pledged to make the backlog a priority. In 2011 the backlog was gone, but I don't know where the city and county stand in 2013 wrt rape kits. With cities suffering from the recession, I imagine that a backlog could occur again quite easilty.

The current scandal with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department - gangs within the department, and conditions / misconduct in the county jail - has been consuming the public's attention for the last year. Now with the Dorner manifesto LAPD will be in the spotlight - again - so any current problems with rape kits will not be addressed any time soon.

The City of Los Angeles Eliminates Historical Rape Kit Backlog

In 2009, Los Angeles County had the largest known rape kit backlog in the United States. At that time, some 12,000 rape kits-which potentially contained DNA and other evidence collected from rape victims' bodies and clothes immediately after the crime-were sitting in police storage facilities in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and 47 independent police departments in Los Angeles County. The city of Los Angeles held 6,132 of the untested kits counted in 2009, which it refers to as its pre-December 2008 "historical backlog." As of April 27 [2011], the city reported that it has reduced that backlog to zero. The uploading of DNA samples from the newly tested rape kits has so far yielded 753 hits in the FBI's national DNA database CODIS.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 22:14

One kit from 2002 revealed DNA belonging to a man who was in prison for the murder of three women. The murders had been committed during the seven years the rape kit sat on a warehouse shelf. . . .

.....three women dead because a rape kit sat on a shelf. This is not a partisan issue, and if you are not outraged you should be.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

"Unfortunate, but all too true... I'm glad I could be the generation that abolished such thinking and ushered in a new era of thinking... about women and equality, racism and prejudice, gender and civil rights, the reality of global warming and our planet's other issues, and the list goes on."

What generation do you think the Detroit situation has happened in? The way I figure it - you are an active member of that very same generation...as is most everyone who posts here.

The Detroit situation is so sad for all the victims! So sad.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

It doesn't matter if you knew about it before or if you just found out it is continuing so the more that hear about it the better. To admonish the OP is ridiculous and out of line. She is rightfully incensed and should be thanked for reminding those that already knew that this existed and / or educating those that didn't, not taken to task for it.

Not a panacea but the SAFER Act will help. The Act was introduced in 2012 and passed the Senate just 2 days ago along with the Violence Against Women Act. There is still the House to go. You are encouraged to contact your Reps to show your support and encourage them to get on board. There are also petitions that can be signed online at the usual sites (change.org, etc.) or just Google it.

I donate to RAINN and they have been working on this.You can get more info at RAINN.org

Senate Passes the Violence Against Women Act

Sen. Leahy (D-VT)
February 12, 2013 � In a strong bipartisan act today, the Senate voted to renew the landmark Violence Against Women Act.

"VAWA has helped reduce the level of sexual violence across the country, so it's crucial for Congress to renew it. The bill the Senate passed today adds important new protections for victims and helps end the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases. We hope the House will quickly pass it as well," said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's president.

Spearheaded by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) with co-sponsor Mike Crapo (R-ID), VAWA passed today by a vote of 78-22. VAWA originally became law in 1994 but expired more than a year ago. The Senate vote sends the bill to the House for its consideration.

Sen. Leahy made one significant change to VAWA this year: he added the SAFER Act, which will help eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases.

The SAFER Act, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) passed the Senate just after Christmas. Days later, the House passed an amended version of SAFER (sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe [R-TX] and Carolyn Maloney [D-NY]). But the vote came too late to reconcile its bill with the Senate before the 112th Congress adjourned.

The House of Representatives is expected to take up the measure in the coming weeks.

How you can help:

Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 11 (the Violence Against Women Act) and H.R. 354 (the SAFER Act).
Support the SAFER Act
What is SAFER?
The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting Act, also known as the SAFER Act (S. 80/HR 354), is a no-cost bill that will reduce the backlog of untested DNA evidence from open rape cases (commonly known as rape kits).

Why We Need It:
There's a huge backlog of DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases that has never been sent to the lab for analysis. Until we test this evidence and identify the rapists, those criminals remain free to attack more victims.

How SAFER Will Help:
SAFER will bring transparency to the DNA rape kit testing process, help us efficiently target resources to cities that have the biggest backlogs, and empower the communities with information about the rape kit testing status in their area. It will help eliminate the evidence backlog and take thousands of rapists off the streets.

How You Can Help:
Call or email your U.S. Representative and Senators (calling is more effective, but an email will help, too). Below are samples of what to write or say.

Look up the name and contact information for your U.S. Representative here.

Sample Call Script:

My name is _________ and I live in [your town, your state].
I am calling to encourage Congressman/Congresswoman/Senator [Last Name] to cosponsor the SAFER Act (S. 80/HR 354). This no-cost bill will help reduce the DNA backlog in rape cases, bring more efficiency and transparency to the criminal justice system, and empower victims of rape.
This bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senators John Cornyn and Michael Bennet and Representatives Ted Poe and Carolyn Maloney.
I hope you will support this important bill. Thank you.

Sample Email:
Dear [U.S. Rep./U.S. Sen.] [Last Name],

There is a huge backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases. We need your help to end this problem and take rapists off the streets. Please cosponsor the SAFER Act (S. 80/HR 354). This no-cost bill will help reduce the DNA backlog in rape cases, bring more efficiency and transparency to the criminal justice system, and empower victims of rape. The bill has strong bipartisan support, and I urge you to join your colleagues in cosponsoring this vital bill.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your City, State]

About RAINN

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. The hotlines have helped more than 1.8 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.

...................

BIPARTISAN SAFER ACT OF 2013 INTRODUCED IN HOUSE & SENATE

Washington, DC ��"Today, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) along with Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced S. 80and HR 254 respectively, The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013. These companion bills will help law enforcement process rape kits and bring an end to the rape kit backlog.

“For far too long, an unacceptable national backlog of untested rape kits has compounded the pain for too many victims of sexual assault. Today, we take a significant step toward reducing that backlog and bringing swifter justice for millions of victims,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bill enjoys broad, bipartisan support in Congress and getting this bill to the President’s desk will be a top priority for me.”

“The SAFER Act makes commonsense reforms to provide local law enforcement agencies with resources and flexibility to address the nation’s rape kit backlog,” said Senator Bennet. “No victim of sexual assault should have to wait for justice while critical DNA evidence sits untested on dusty shelves. I urge my colleagues in both houses of Congress to pass this bipartisan measure as quickly as possible.”

“Victims of crime should not be denied justice because of a bureaucratic backlog. It is unconscionable to let evidence sit on dusty shelves in storage facilities when it could be used to put perpetrators where they belong -- "behind bars,” said Congressman Poe. “It is my hope that the SAFER Act will bring to light the necessity of testing rape kits as quickly as possible in order to bring swift justice to violent criminals. Victims of violent crime should not have to live in fear while the perpetrators go about their everyday lives. Let’s get this done. ”

“The gridlock in Washington shouldn’t create further backlog for innocent rape victims whose rape kits are awaiting processing,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Passing the SAFER Act doesn’t use any new money or add to the deficit, while addressing a long overdue problem --" ending the rape kit backlog. These audit incentive grants will help State and local law enforcement agencies to address and understand their own rape kit backlogs. Having worked on this issue since 2001, I know that having data about the scope of the backlog is vital to addressing the problem. The bill also ensures that 75 percent of Debbie Smith funds be spent directly on untested DNA evidence. By processing this evidence, we can prevent rapists from attacking more innocent victims and ensure that the survivors and their families receive justice.”

Currently, an estimated 400,000 rape kits sit untested in labs and on police storage shelves across the nation" each one of them holding the potential to solve a crime, imprison a rapist and provide a victim with the justice they deserve.

The SAFER Act will help state and local governments conduct audits of rape kits with no new spending by better targeting existing funds under the Debbie Smith Act and ensuring more money goes directly toward testing rape kits.

The SAFER Act
-Provides state and local governments with funding to conduct one year audits of the untested sexual assault evidence in their possession with no new spending.
-Requires aggregate data from the audits to be posted online to provide accountability and track their progress.
-Amends current law to require that at least 75% of Debbie Smith Act funds be spent directly on analyzing untested DNA evidence and increasing the capacity of labs.

Contact your Reps!

This post was edited by epiphyticlvr on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 23:15


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

sound like certain police departments and crime lab are not doing there jobs.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

posted by sleeplessinftwayne:
"Most rape victims wear out. They just try to get on with their lives as much as possible. Your indignation doesn't help much. "

And might the pot just be meeting the kettle and comparing shades here?

Her indignation may not be "worth much" but it certainly has more value than your apathy.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

sound like certain police departments and crime lab are not doing there jobs.

It's a countrywide problem just some places have a backlog worse than others.

s/b:sound like certain police departments and crime lab are not doing there jobs.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

For those of you who already were in possession of this information for quite awhile, what specific actions have you taken as a result of your knowledge regarding this shockingly unacceptable situation?


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

yes , this is shocking, but sadly not surprising.

Are you shocked that it has happened in a first world nation with suposedly high standards of law enforcement?

The 'war on women" is a worldwide situation.

The world view, fueled by culture and religious views is that women just dont matter as much as men....and as kate so justly put it "the women probably asked for it"

female genital mutilation , undertaken with razor blades (to make women more marriagable as they are left with no sexual desire and are thus less likely to stray, fistula affected women discarded to leak urine and faeces for the rest of their lives, sub continent practices of scarring with acid womem who refuse marriage proposal, burning alive unwanted daughters in law...refusing to educate females

come on ladies....get used to it!! How dare you want the same standards of law enforcement!

shall I go on?


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Rock Center devoted much of the program tonight on this. It's probably available to watch at their website.

This is beyond disturbing.In this day and age to have this kind of negligence is unbelievable.

And to have two woman posters be blase about it says a lot too.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

For those of you who already were in possession of this information for quite awhile, what specific actions have you taken as a result of your knowledge regarding this shockingly unacceptable situation?

In this case I have donated money, signed several petitions and have contacted my senators and reps. .

Another question... since it's still a problem what are you going to do now?


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

A rape kit, left untested, DNA lost, allowed serial killer to roam the streets.

The Plain Dealer chronicled the practices of Cleveland Heights Police. Officers there failed to test a rape kit that once tested linked Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell to an unsolved rape.

Calling this a cluster of incompetence is being kind to authorities involved.

Here is a link that might be useful: No test


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Who pays for these tests? Are they paid for by the local municipalities? If so I am not in the least bit surprised about this. City budgets have been decimated, teachers and police officers fired, libraries closed, pools closed, services withdrawn. Detroit is going bankrupt.

I'm not condoning this but the financial situation of many, many cities is dire. Not sure what the answer is but its not an easy one.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

"What generation do you think the Detroit situation has happened in?"

The mindset that promotes patriarchal inequality towards women began a long time before Detroit was ever a city, and would continue if a generation somewhere in there didn't stop thinking that way and introduce a new way of thinking!


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

What a thought provoking OP. (Also anger provoking!) Thanks for posting.

To me, identifying individuals highly likely to re offend, as is the case with sexual predators, seems like it should be a priority.

In reading up on the issue, I learned that one reason for the backlog, aside from the cost, is a shortage of people trained to do the testing. And different statutes of limitations make testing newer kits (before the statutes run out) a higher priority than older, dusty evidence. Here's what End the Backlog.org says about older, untested DNA:

"Sexual assault evidence kits were collected from victims starting in the 1970s, but DNA testing was not regularly used as evidence until the mid-1990s, after significant advancements in DNA technology. This means that very few rape kits collected before the 1990s would have been tested for DNA, although they may have been analyzed to determine the perpetrator's blood type."

We still need jobs today, and there is talk of more stimulus spending. It seems quite reasonable to me for the feds to have a role in subsidizing training and lab expansion for DNA testing that states need but can't afford. The last time we let the feds pick a technology "winner," with the promise of job creation, the big recipients were numerous green energy companies that went bankrupt. We're smarter than that today, and most of us can see (if we didn't before) that the feds made some very bad decisions with our money.

Expanding access to the proven technology of DNA testing doesn't provide the photo ops of an unsustainable Solyndra, but we need it. Women might want to let their electeds know it must be a priority. I suspect the backlog could be cleaned up for a fraction of what the feds spent propping up those bankrupt green energy companies. And there would be no excuse for any future rape victim not having her attacker's DNA tested withing a few days.

Here is a link that might be useful: End the Backlog


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Kate: "You have nothing to say about sleepless's put-downs of my concern over the situation, especially when I find sleepless's put-downs of me rather hurtful? You don't even seem to be aware of the scorn sleepless directed at me because I found this news disturbing."

You took Sleepless's post as a personal affront; I didn't read it that way at all.

First of all, Sleepless directed the comments to "you all": ""Why are you all so shocked over this"

The strongest statements I see in Sleepless's post are: "If you didn't know about the backlog you haven't been paying attention" "The system sucks." "Be aware there are problems but spare me the outraged shock." "Most rape victims wear out. They just try to get on with their lives as much as possible. Your indignation doesn't help much."

That's not so bad, is it? Sounds like you feel you personally are being scolded for not paying attention sooner, and again, I wonder if Sleepless has some personal anecdotal experience which causes emotions to run high, compared maybe to someone who is new to this information. It happens.

"Personally, I think your attitude is disgusting!" That was uncalled for, IMO. That's all. Posters take up for each other all the time when they think someone was out of line; nothing new here. It's entirely different from "piling on", which I sure don't like to see.


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RE: 11,000+ rape kits left on police shelves--UNTESTED

Indignation and outrage are strong emotions. When they result in a productive action taken they can be beneficial. When they do not contribute to a solution they are harmful.

Groups such as the one referred to by Nicoleta sound like they do some good. Since I have no direct knowledge of that particular organization I can't say for sure. Others are in existence only to collect money and make the participants feel good. I have run into many of those. They make a lot of noise and vanish in short order, often along with a lot of money.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the damage caused by laboratory backups. The first thing is to find out the status of testing where you live. If there is a problem, then you can apply all that energy to improving the system. Somewhere along the line there will be problems that can be addressed. Try replacing unfocused outrage with productive action. Find out why there is a backup and address that problem. Understand that untested material is only one problem among many that explain the huge number of unprosecuted rapes. The Prosecutor's office is one of them. Lack of employees is another as is a lack of funds. Some cases simply run into a blank wall for lack of evidence.

In the end, there will be rapes that will not be resolved even when all testing has been done. For example, many will have been committed by people who are not in the system. Short of other evidence connecting a person to that particular crime the police may not be able to even collect DNA. That is a problem that can be at least partially resolved. Support efforts to allow authorities to collect DNA from anyone connected to a felony arrest and conviction, especially those involving violence. You have to get someone into the system in order to make a comparison. The ACLU is fighting against that one and so far they are winning.

Another problem is lab employees who falsify tests to assist a prosecution. That is truly reprehensible. The data must be reliable.

There are a lot of steps that allow stumbles on the way to
a conviction. The testing is only one. Take your pick. My choice is supporting standardization, access and improvement of databases. Steps are already being taken to improve Lab results here due to problems uncovered at the state level.


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