Detroit Businesswomen Team Up to Get Rape Kits Tested

"In 2009, a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney noticed thousands of rape kits stacked on the shelves of a Detroit Police Department storage facility. The kits are used to collect and store DNA evidence obtained from sexual assault survivors. These particular kits had been in storage for up to 30 years, and their contents had never been processed or properly investigated."

"Typically, the cost of processing one rape kit is $1,500; testing 11,341 kits would cost about $17 million. That did not include the expense of hiring more investigators and then prosecuting the cases, a process that would most likely cost at least $10 million more."

"Ms. Worthy said her office had identified 652 people suspected of being serial sexual assault offenders and had secured 27 convictions. An additional 182 cases are being investigated and 1,598 more are awaiting investigation."

"81 percent of the Wayne County victims whose kits went untested were black women."

"As public outrage grew, a public-private initiative called Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit) was created, building on Ms. Cline’s group’s approach to using private fund-raising as a way to address a criminal justice crisis."

“It’s an interesting time for Detroit,” “The world is watching us. But you can’t have economic development if you can’t feel safe walking to your car after work.”

~ Michelle Busuito, a lawyer for the suburban bus system in Detroit who is involved in Enough SAID.

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Replies to This Discussion

We've had a similar situation here in Cleveland, where hundreds of rape kits go untested.  Mike DeWine finally woke up and got things moving, but I wonder how long some of them have languished in evidence lockers and more importantly, how long the victims have gone without answers!

You know what they say, Joan: if you want something done, DO IT YOURSELF.  My hat's off to the ladies of Detroit who got it done!

Same problem here in Illinois. Huge backlog of untested rape kits. Seems to be a widespread problem. Unconscionable!

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