Six months after three counties in Oregon began shipping hundreds of untested DNA samples from alleged victims of sexual assault to a Utah lab, the first results are in: Five match known offenders in a criminal database.
CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) – Rape kit testing is an expensive process. Sometimes rape kits aren’t tested because other evidence can be used to convict the suspect. Or a suspect can plead out and the tests don’t have to be conducted.
Heather Marlowe was raped at a party in May 2010, during the city’s popular Bay to Breakers footrace. She reported the assault and subjected herself to the four-hour forensic examination, which produces a cache of evidence commonly known as a rape kit. Kits can include semen, hair, and skin cells from the attacker, all of which can be used to identify a suspect. But the San Francisco police didn’t test her kit for more than two years—and today, they still haven’t managed to catch her attacker.
“Promega Corporation gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the video “Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits”. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.”
Last fall, Gov. Bill Walker requested to know the number of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers and police departments around the state. Thirty-four of the 53 police departments have yet to report their numbers. The 19 that have, including the Troopers, have reported that their inventory goes back more than 20 years and is about 3,600 untested rape kits.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Victims’ advocates are calling on city leaders to reopen Austin Police Department’s DNA Lab.
The lab was shut down due to the lack of properly trained staff and outdated technology. The Travis County DA’s Office has identified nearly 1,400 DNA cases since the mid-1980s that may have been compromised by how the APD lab was testing and analyzing DNA mixtures.
The GBI’s State Crime Lab expects to receive an additional 864 rape kits within a week that have been stored, for years in some cases, in police evidence lockers and never analyzed for DNA matches.
Sixty-one percent of them will come from the Atlanta Police Department, according to GBI records.
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Some sexual assault victims could soon get justice.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirms they have matched 10 of the state’s previously untested rape kits to profiles already in the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which is the national DNA database.
Those kits were just some of the more than 2,000 turned over to the GBI in recent months. Last summer when it was discovered that evidence was sitting on agency shelves across the state because of confusion over testing policies.
This year, as Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and legislators tangled over the best way to solve Alaska’s budget woes, he quietly launched a mandate to do right by Alaska’s victims of sexual assault.
Ten months ago, Walker tasked all state of Alaska departments and law enforcement agencies with the duty to collect, maintain, store and preserve sexual assault kits to find out how many kits exist that have never made it into the hands of DNA analysts for review.
State Auditor Tim Keller announced Wednesday a series of meetings across New Mexico to discuss the statewide backlog of evidence in 5,400 rape cases that might have pinpointed suspects through DNA analysis but instead have sat untested in police evidence rooms.
“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested: many jurisdictions don’t mandate rape kit testing, and it’s generally considered a low priority for law enforcement, according to ENDTHEBACKLOG, a nonprofit working to eliminate the rape kit backlog. Last year, the Manhattan DA gave $38 million in grants to 32 jurisdictions in 20 states across the country to help tackle the national backlog, and since then, 494 DNA profiles have been uploaded to the national database, with 70% of them resulting in a hit, according to the DA’s office.”
Yesterday, the White House held a Summit on Women, where speakers discussed how the nation is moving forward to address issues affecting women and girls. At this Summit, NIJ launched it’s special report, Down the Road: Testing Evidence in Sexual Assaults to help practitioners and advocates understand the larger context of improving the justice system’s response to sexual assault.
Read about NIJ’s work on testing sexual assault kits in Down the Road.
MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) — — “There are definitely cases right now that are backlogged at the state lab,” said Matthew Gamette, Idaho State forensic lab director said.
The lab director inside the Idaho Forensics lab says the goal is to complete DNA kits within 30 days.
More than 140,000 untested rape evidence kits are collecting dust in crime labs throughout the country – denying justice for rape survivors waiting for the results and allowing rapists to commit more sexual assaults.
Virginia has joined a handful of states that have taken legislative action to end the backlog by adopting a law to ensure that the commonwealth’s untested kits will be processed quickly beginning July 1.
SACRAMENTO — One minute they were getting into their car on Allston Way in Berkeley just before 10 on an unseasonably warm Friday night. The next, a stranger had a black handgun to their heads.