Serial Rapists Identified: 100 ID'd as Detroit Rape Kit Backlog Tested

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 04:58 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Nearly 100 serial rapists have been identified as Detroit processes thousands of abandoned rape kits, some that date back to the 1980s, and "Law & Order: SVU" actress Mariska Hargitay is speaking out to demand deadline legislation be passed to prevent such a thing from happening again.

The actress joined Michigan’s Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in a news conference to talk about the 11,000 untested rape kits found in 2009.

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“To me, this is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes,” Hargitay said, according to the Detroit Free-Press. “One would assume that if someone endures a four- to six-hour invasive examination, that that evidence would be handled with care.”

Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation with a mission is to shed light on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, and has made getting the country’s rape kits processed a priority. There are estimates that as many as 400,000 nationwide need to be processed.

The news conference Monday was the same day the first of the serial rapists was sentenced to more than 40 years in jail, the Free-Press said.

At the news conference, Worthy said about 2,000 of the kits have been processed. Michigan recently set aside $4 million to test the remainder of the kits at private labs and all are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Unfortunately, Worty noted, just processing the kits is only the beginning as it takes a lot of police work once a DNA hit comes back.

“Right now, we’ve got over 200 rape kit hits that we’ve gotten that we haven’t gotten to” for further follow-up investigation, Worth said, according to the Free-Press.

“Bottom line: Rape kits can bring justice, and justice for so many survivors can bring healing,” Hargitay said, according to Time magazine. “Testing rape kits is vital to keeping rapists off the streets, and yet hundreds of thousands of these kits don’t even make it to the crime lab.”

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