Years Delayed, Detroit Starts Testing Rape Kits For Evidence | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Years Delayed, Detroit Starts Testing Rape Kits For Evidence

Play associated audio

Detroit is starting to sort through thousands of boxes of potential evidence in rape cases that have been left unprocessed. The 11,000 "rape kits" were discovered in 2009, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has been leading the effort to process them.

In April, she told weekends on All Things Considered that they began with a random sample of 400 kits to get a snapshot of what they were dealing with. That sampling led to two trials, which resulted in convictions.

"Both of those defendants are now serving time for a very, very long time," Worthy tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Lab technicians have tested an additional 243 kits, which Worthy says uncovered more than 21 serial rapists just in that sample. Worthy has estimated that processing all of the backlogged kits would cost around $15 million. Currently, the city has the money to test about 800 to 1,000 kits.

"So we have a lot more work to do in raising funds to see that these kits are tested," she says.

Despite the work left undone, Worthy believes progress can be made to correct the problem nationwide.

"I'm hopeful that if people take the right approach from the very beginning that we can certainly put a dent in this," she says.

After a national protocol is developed, Worthy says, people will know how to handle untested kits.

"But even more optimistically," she says, "I really hope that people will not be stockpiling these rape kits, and we will not even have this as a problem."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Audiences Get A Modern Look At A 19th Century Opera

Opera as seen through the lens of Google Glass? Wolf Trap is giving audiences the chance to mix technology with Bizet’s classic "Carmen" this month.
NPR

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

A new book claims the organic label can't be trusted, especially on food that's imported. Yet there is a global system for verifying the authenticity of organic food, and it mostly seems to work.
NPR

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

The latest version of the DISCLOSE Act, which would force donor disclosure on outside organizations that engage in election politics, is facing now-familiar opposition from Republican lawmakers.
NPR

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.