Members of Michigan Delegation Meet with Advocates to Address Issue of Untested Rape Kits

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) today met with Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor, Carolyn Cassin, President and CEO of the Michigan Women's Foundation, and Peg Tallet, Chief of Community Engagement for the Michigan Women's Foundation to jointly address the thousands of rape kits that have gone untested in Michigan. The meeting highlighted ways to end Michigan's rape kit backlog while making sure communities have the resources needed to prosecute the responsible perpetrators.

"It's unbelievable that rape kits go years without being tested," said Senator Stabenow. "These women deserve justice. It is absolutely critical that there is funding to test rape kits and funding to make sure those responsible pay for these horrific acts of violence."

"The backlog of untested rape kits not only utterly fails victims who deserve justice, it allows violent attackers to become repeat offenders," said Senator Peters. "Allowing rape kits to go unprocessed is unacceptable, and I look forward to working with the members of the Michigan congressional delegation to tackle this issue."

"It is unacceptable that these rape kits sit on a shelf, unanalyzed, for years," said Rep. Dingell. "We have a serious responsibility to ensure victims can hold their perpetrators accountable, and we all must work together to end this backlog and remove violent criminals from our streets."

"This meeting today reinforces our support for Prosecutor Worthy and the Detroit Police Department as they seek justice for victims of sexual assault," said Rep. Lawrence. "The findings and proposed solutions in the National Institute of Justice report demonstrates we still have a long way to go, but this is a good start."

It is estimated that 400,000 rape kits have gone untested in the United States. In 2009, 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in Detroit at an abandoned police storage unit. While the state of Michigan expects to complete testing by the end of May 2015, it will take an estimated $10 million to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators responsible.