PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The first two posts in this series on "untested rape kits" dealt with serious problems in Flint, Michigan and San Diego, California. However, as the web-site 'End the Backlog" makes clear on its web-page, (See GIST below) there have been serious problems relating to rape kit testing in many other parts of the United States. I suspect that there are similar problems in other countries, including my own (Canada), for many reasons - including the reality that rape kit testing is all too often and 'invisible' and misunderstood part of the intersecting public health and criminal justice systems. For that reason, 'End the Backlog' performs a valuable function for rape victims and innocent suspects (and wrongfully convicted people as well 'HL') , by highlighting problematic jurisdictions, pressuring for proper funding, and making available crucial information. This site, found at the link below, informs us that 'End the Backlog' is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay with the mission to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;
GIST: "Many jurisdictions only test kits in cases where the assailant is unknown, in the hopes of identifying a suspect through DNA evidence. Rape kit testing, however, has significant value beyond identifying an unknown suspect. Testing rape kits can link unsolved crimes to a serial offender, confirm a suspect’s contact with a victim, corroborate the victim’s account of the attack, and exonerate innocent suspects. Acquaintance rapists may also be serial offenders, and they may have also committed crimes against people they don’t know. Testing every rape kit connected to a reported crime ensures that links between crimes will be made, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator......... (Outdated or unclear lab policies) "Public crime labs across the country increasingly recognize the need to update their DNA testing policies to reflect innovations in the fields of forensic science and criminal justice. In years past, many labs had narrow submission policies, some of which prohibited the submission of rape kits for DNA testing in cases in which the identity of the perpetrator was known to the victim. As more experts advocate for the value of testing all kits, including kits linked to cases with known perpetrators, these labs are shifting their policies to accept all kits. In other jurisdictions, a lack of clear communication between crime labs and law enforcement agencies has led to misunderstandings about what types of kits can be submitted for testing. Jurisdictions that are deeply invested in bringing justice to survivors and preventing future crimes have dedicated the necessary resources toward addressing their backlogs and moving cases forward. New York City served as a model for the rest of the country when it committed to testing every rape kit in its backlog and aggressively following up on leads and prosecuting cases. Detroit is now working to pull together the resources needed to test every kit in its backlog of more than 11,000 untested kits and to investigate the resulting leads. In Cleveland, prosecutors have initiated cases against hundreds of perpetrators thanks to the testing of their nearly 4,000 kits. And in Memphis, nearly 6,000 kits have already been tested as the Memphis Police Department addresses its backlog of 12,164 kits.
The entire site can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.