rape kits

Politics & Government
7:36 am
Thu June 6, 2013

In this morning’s news: donation for rape kit testing, school budgets, and gas prices

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Work started on rape kit testing

When Detroit’s police lab closed three years ago thousands of rape kits were left untested.  A donation of four million dollars from the state of Michigan will go toward immediately reducing the work backlog

"Tests on a few hundred kits have already turned up suspects living all across Michigan and half a dozen other states," Rick Pluta reports.

School districts must prove budget

A new bill in the state House Legislature would require school districts to prove their funding for an entire school year.  Schools would face closure if the year’s funding could not be met. 

"Under the bill, schools that can't show they can afford to stay open all year would risk getting dissolved by the state treasurer and state superintendent. They would work with the intermediate school district to find districts nearby to accept the students," Lindsey Smith reports.

Gas prices spike

Summer gas prices in Michigan are nearing a record high due to regional refinery problems.  It may take a week for prices to stabilize and begin to decrease in Michigan and the Midwest.

Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

$4 million to help Wayne County deal with backlog in testing rape kits

Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy held a news conference to announce $4 million to help reduce a backlog in processing thousands of rape kits. Schuette holds a rape kit box.
Rick Pluta MPRN

A $4 million donation from the state could help cut in half a backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit.

There are eight or nine thousand rape kits remaining of those that were left behind and untested when the city of Detroit police lab closed three years ago.

Some of the cases are 25 years old.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it’s unacceptable that some of these crimes have gone decades without being solved.

“Twice, women were violated – once by the rape, and then second, that justice was put in a box, put on a shelf,” said Schuette.

The funds will come from money won in lawsuits by the state.

Tests on a few hundred kits have already turned up suspects living all across Michigan and half a dozen other states.

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Law
5:35 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

Untouched, Thousands Of Rape Kits Await Justice

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 10:46 pm

In 2009, prosecutors in Detroit discovered more than 11,000 boxes of potential evidence in rape cases left completely unprocessed. Row upon row of what are called "rape kits" remained untouched on shelves in a police evidence room for years. No DNA evidence was extracted; no DNA evidence was used to catch or prosecute the assailants.

Since then, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has lead the effort to sort through those 11,000 rape kits and to find the funding to get them processed.

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Crime
5:07 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

State Police still struggling with Detroit rape kit backlog

Michigan State Police say it will take millions of dollars to process thousands of rape kits found in an abandoned Detroit crime lab.

John Collins is State Police Director of Forensic Science. He says Michigan State University researchers are helping to identify the kits but the procedure takes time and money:

“What we hope to have eventually is some federal support to help us supply resources to test as many of these kits as possible, and to assist with the prosecutions that we think will come later on down the road,” said Collins.

Collins says about a thousand rape kits will be analyzed for DNA in the next year.  The results will be submitted to a national database to look for matches from other cases.

That leaves a backlog of another 10,000  kits .

The Detroit Police crime lab was shut down in 2008 after it was learned that firearms cases had been improperly handled.

crime
4:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Research project looks to fix problem of untested rape kits

Rebecca Campbell, professor of psychology, and Giannina Fehler-Cabral, graduate research assistant, are looking into why more than 10,000 rape kits in Detroit went untested.
G.L. Kohuth Michigan State University

About two years ago, police and prosecutors were conducting a walk-through of a Detroit Police storage room when they came across something as shocking as any crime scene: more than 10,000 rape kits, collecting dust.

“You don’t get 10,000-plus kits sitting in a storage facility because one person or one organization didn’t do their job. It just doesn’t work like that. You can’t get a problem that big,” says Michigan State University researcher Rebecca Campbell.

Not just a Detroit problem

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