Perhaps it truly is the fault of lack of resources but given the nation’s and the world’s history with prosecuting rape—or rather, even blaming victims—some are going to wonder if rape cases just aren’t a priority in some police departments and prosecutors’ offices. Many might argue that this is not Iran where a rape victim can be hanged for defending herself (we don’t know what would happen if a male were raped there and killed his assailant), but rape cases are difficult to prosecute here as well. And, as in other parts of the world, the victim often is faced with a stigma. So, of course the thought crosses some minds that perhaps these rape kits deliberately were “overlooked:”
As Detroit rape kits sit untested, justice for victims is denied
At the Michigan State Police Northville Post, Brian Schloff, the biology lab manager for the MSP forensic science unit, and forensic scientist Erica Castor review a sexual assault evidence kit. / Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press
By Paul Egan and Gina Damron
Detroit Free Press Staff Writers
Nearly five years after the discovery of 11,000 abandoned rape evidence kits in a Detroit police warehouse sparked outrage, only about 2,000 of the kits have undergone DNA testing, allowing serial rapists to remain free and in some cases commit more attacks.
All the kits are finally expected to get tested this year because the state Legislature appropriated $4 million to send them to private labs.
As important as the DNA is, testing alone is only a part of the equation in getting justice for the hundreds of people who have been victimized and getting dangerous sexual predators off the streets. Testing on the kits has already produced more than 500 hits with named suspects on a national DNA database, but police and prosecutors haven’t even begun to follow up on more than 150 of those leads.