If you watch TV crime shows, you get the idea that after a sexual assault, the hospital collects a rape kit and it quickly gets processed, often resulting in the arrest and conviction of the rapist. But it doesn’t always work that way in real life.
In Fayetteville, NC, the police department has just revealed that it trashed 333 rape kits without ever testing them. They did it to make room for newer evidence in their crowded storage space. The police chief said he is distraught over the bad decision, which was made before his tenure. Of the rapes involved, 167 cases are still unsolved.
In the state of Kentucky, over 3000 rape kits are untested as of now. Some of them date back to rapes committed 40 years ago, but most are more recent. Backlogs are common across the nation, with some states having far worse records than others. Kentucky’s state auditor said that the average turnaround time for a rape kit to get tested is eight months, and he called the situation completely unacceptable.