Back in 2009, more than 11,300 untested rape kits were found in a police storage facility in Detroit. The revelation was jarring. Right before us were 11,300 victims with unsolved and unprosecuted cases, awaiting justice for the horrible crimes committed against them.
Since then, the state and local officials have done their best to alleviate this backlog, but it would cost an estimated $10 million to finish testing all of the kits.
Recently, I joined other members of the Michigan Congressional delegation, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, to strategize about the further funding, including potential federal grants, needed for testing the remaining kits and eliminating the backlog.
As of January of this year, the state has tested about 2000 kits in the backlog. From those kits, 255 potential serial rapists have been identified, including 15 who have already been convicted. Just imagine what we could find if we had the resources to test them all – imagine all of the victims who could hold their perpetrators accountable. It takes an extraordinary amount of bravery for a victim of sexual assault to agree to do a rape kit. The fact that there are tens of thousands of untested kits in Detroit and all across the country is not right.