Tuesday, February 3, 2015

(FEB 3, 2015) The backlog of untested rape/DNA kits in police evidence rooms and hospitals across America is a national shame. In 2015, PROTECT is taking aim through federal legislation at the most outrageous part of this backlog: pediatric and adolescent rape kits. 

Here's a glimpse into this issue, from the Gambit newspaper in New Orleans:

"State Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, requested a statewide inventory last year for all agencies acting as custodians of untested rape kits. Morrell expected to find more than 1,000 sitting in evidence lockers around the state. The results revealed 1,069 untested rape kits in law enforcement custody — and another 94 in pediatric health care facilities in New Orleans....

Children's Hospital of New Orleans and its Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation Center had in their custody 94 untested kits — meaning a nurse collected sensitive evidence, including swabs for body fluids and hair and fibers, all taken from survivors of sexual assault who are minors, as part of a pediatric evidence recovery kit. But no agency had picked up the kits to be tested for evidence in cases, which could lead to prosecution and conviction of an offender..."