Thousands Of Untested Rape Kits Need Processing, Legislators Say

May 16, 2018 8:00 am · 25 comments

California Assemblyman David Chiu and Sen. Connie Leyva today emphasized the importance of two pieces of legislation that aim to tackle a backlog of untested rape kits in California.

A rape kit, or sexual assault kit, is a voluntary exam for victims directly after an attack occurs. The process can take up to six hours and collects DNA evidence from the victim’s clothing and body.

Senate Bill 1449 will mandate that new rape kits are submitted to law enforcement within 20 days and tested no later than 120 days after they’re received, and Assembly Bill 3118 will require an audit to determine how many rape kits are untested in California. Both were introduced on Feb. 16.

Leyva said SB 1449 makes one critical amendment to existing law — that law enforcement “shall” follow listed time frames for testing kits, rather than “should” follow. It also includes a budget request of $2 million to fund the testing, according to Leyva.

Authorities do not know exactly how many rape kits are untested, but advocacy group End the Backlog has analyzed law enforcement records to find more than 13,000 untested kits in California.

Law enforcement officials might neglect to test rape kits when they believe it is unnecessary, Chiu said. This could include a case where the perpetrator turns themselves in to the police.

Chiu said, however, that rape kits are an importance part of evidence gathering and could connect a perpetrator to multiple crimes.

Natasha Alexenko, a survivor of sexual assault and founder of the Natasha Project, said she was unaware her rape kit went untested for nearly 15 years.

Her perpetrator committed a string of crimes across the nation during that time period and she said she blamed herself for “every other victim this monster created.”

She said the perpetrator was finally arrested after law enforcement officials tested her rape kit.

“I want to be one of the last people that gets up here behind a podium and tells you that … even though their body was a crime scene, their rape kit sat and collected dust,” Alexenko said.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is sponsoring the legislative package. As a college student, she assisted women at a rape crisis center in Contra Costa County.

She said the rape kit of one victim, untested for several years, was later connected to the Golden State Killer. Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested in Sacramento on April 24 due to DNA evidence.

“If that doesn’t convince them, nothing will,” Leyva said, answering a question about DeAngelo’s arrest. “I think it just shows that DNA catches bad guys.”

O’Malley added that Alameda County law enforcement were able to purge a backlog of 1,900 untested rape kits collected over 15 years after they audited their inventory. Some perpetrators are now being prosecuted for
their crimes, she said.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has also pushed for funding to test rape kits this year.

“It’s about time,” O’Malley said about the push for legislation to ensure justice for sexual assault survivors. “Enough is enough.”

MattfromConcord May 16, 2018 at 8:11 AM

How do I sign up for this job???? It can’t be very difficult to PROCESS a kit. I can even work a a government pace and process a couple a day and be employed for a few years at a nice government salary. I’d say $40 and hour 7 hours a day Mon-Fri will work for me.

Cher May 16, 2018 at 3:47 PM

You couldn’t correctly say “an” instead of “and” hour so you wouldn’t pass the clerical government test much less the chemical technician status to do testing of highly contaminable fluids.

MattfromConcord May 16, 2018 at 9:22 PM

Sorry, hard for my big man fingers to type on my cell phone

Original G May 16, 2018 at 8:14 AM

So upper and front liner management in those counties get a pass ? ? ?No demotion, no loss of pay ?
Where were the Grand Juries of those counties ?
Why does it take an Assembly Bill for counties to do an audit for untested kits ?
Shouldn’t that order for an audit have already come from CA attorney general or is he too busy protecting illegals, suing President Trump and running for
re-election ?

Lela May 16, 2018 at 10:27 PM

Sorry, but the Attorney General is too busy protecting illegals, suing President Trump and running for re-election.

Law Dog May 16, 2018 at 8:20 AM

Use the Crazy Train money for it or the Pot Tax revenue.

TIFOKCIS May 16, 2018 at 8:51 AM

Just for giggles I’d like to know how many good names are cleared as the result of testing the kits.

Big T May 16, 2018 at 9:40 AM

Just for giggles? take a hike. id like to know how many bad names are cleared as a result of testing the kits.

KG May 16, 2018 at 4:55 PM

Good example of how seriously this is taken. Just for giggles?

JDH May 16, 2018 at 8:58 AM

This is a travesty. But let’s keep spending money on illegal aliens and the great choo-choo to nowhere.

Fred May 16, 2018 at 9:05 AM

We had the same problem in Houston, but they had more problems in lab than just rape kits. Especially with all the tough talk on crime they just don’t follow thru.

Concord Res 2 May 16, 2018 at 9:42 AM

Why did it take this long to address this with legislation?

Dorothy May 16, 2018 at 11:53 AM

“Authorities do not know exactly how many rape kits are untested…”

They can’t count that high? Kits are lost in the files? Kits not identified for what they are? No one hired to do the job?

They don’t seem to have a problem with giving themselves raises but can’t find the funds to process the kits?

Bishop Estates May 16, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Why does any of this surprise anyone. County offices are under staffed and budgets, well we here the budget woes all the time. How will new legislation fix a funding problem on a county level?

ZZ May 16, 2018 at 12:54 PM

Many states have this problem, and it shouldn’t be a problem! Hire people to process these kits! How difficult is that?

Warrior for the Oxford comma May 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM

And we here hear the budget woes too.

chuckie the troll May 16, 2018 at 2:48 PM

You know that saying, “There ought to be a law”?

Well, there shouldn’t HAVE to be a law!

Freedom of speech May 16, 2018 at 7:01 PM

Exactly, and then the moron politicians will claim this as some kind of victory.

Cher May 16, 2018 at 3:53 PM

I say it’s time to legislate the thing that needs legislation to bring justice to these many thousands of women. It has been proven that rapists have been located and convicted, once those kits are processed, and proven that had they done this testing SOONER, other rapes could have been prevented. Do we expect a male dominated occupation to make women a priority? I dont know if that is the problem but it does not make sense to increase the number of victims for any reason whatsoever!!
It’s time to STOP rapists and apparently this is how you do it! -DO IT NOW!

Nunya May 16, 2018 at 4:11 PM

Send them all to India you cheap Democrats!

Dr Jellyfinger May 16, 2018 at 7:39 PM

Well… I’ll volunteer to test some of these kits… if I can get a promise I won’t be prosecuted.

Lela May 16, 2018 at 10:34 PM

This is a sad state of affairs when you think about the victims that might have been spared the trauma of rape if someone else’s rape kit had identified and taken that rapist out of circulation.

Anon May 17, 2018 at 5:56 AM

People need to understand that they aren’t processing these kits for the victim who sustained the assault. They want the results to link these peeps to other crimes. It’s not about the victim at all. And in contra costa county, they almost never prosecute rapes. The DA won’t even bring the charges. So know who you’re voting into office because in our county, they only prosecute the for sure, slam dunk, we don’t have to do any work cases. The procedures thread victims had to endure after being raped so they could get this evidence… well it’s humiliating and violating and would break your heart. The fact so many are unprocessed. THAT should be punishable as a crime.

Atticus Thraxx May 17, 2018 at 8:43 AM

This isn’t just a local problem, this is an issue nation-wide and in some places the backlog is even worse. It’s unconscionable. This points out that despite all our lip service, we really don’t care about violence against women.
And from my point of view, eff’ #metoo, this is the subject you should all be marching for. And if nothing changes, burn it all the ‘eff down.

Livin downtown May 17, 2018 at 9:41 AM

There isn’t an acceptable excuse for the massive back up in rape kits. Shame on the 5th largest economy in the world for not setting aside the money and manpower required to clean this up and stay on top of future kits. Justice delayed, is justice denied.

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