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Hundreds of Rape Kits Still Unprocessed In Central Texas

Updated: Friday, August 15 2014, 01:45 PM CDT
Shocking statistics for the city of Austin, more than 8 months later and rape kits are still waiting to be processed.

"Right now we are just assigning cases from the November to December time frame," Austin Police Department's DNA Technical Leader and Supervisor Jeff Sailus said.

The back log in Austin is about 700 kits deep, something sexual assault survivor Patti Stitch-Langford is all too familiar with.  She was assaulted back in 1989 and waited years for her rape kit to be processed.

"These rape kits that are being delayed that don't exist, that are off or lost somewhere, or not being given priority could save people's lives and put criminals behind bars where they belong," Stitch- Langford said.

In 2011 legislation was passed that requires rape kits to be brought to the lab within 30 days.  

"They did pass the law as far as saying they all have to be submitted, but they didn't provide any funding for people or technology to do it," Sailus said.

"Absolutely, we need to do something about that and I don't know what the solution is right now but that is unacceptable," Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

Sailus says adding 2 DNA specialists to the department would be a good start. Mayor Leffingwell says he is optimistic the city will find the funding to add these positions.

Nurses with the St David's Health Care System say they process about 50 new rape cases every month. APD's current 2 DNA specialists can't handle the load.

"For survivors like me closure begins when the rape kits are tested the guilty are found and locked away before they can attack again," Stitch- Langford said.

By: Rachel Kent

Hundreds of Rape Kits Still Unprocessed In Central Texas


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