FDLE Report: Over 13,000 Untested Rape Kits

On Jan. 4, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a report, revealing that there are more than 13,000 untested rape kits in evidence rooms across the state – that’s up 141 percent in the last four years, with the most being in the past year.

According to the FDLE, of the 13,435 kits that have yet to be tested, nearly 9,500 of them should be submitted for testing to catalog DNA evidence which could eventually convict offenders of sex crimes, even years after the crimes were committed.

That way, the agency says, the convictions can pave the way for victims to heal, for justice, and so rape survivors can have closure.

Clearing the backlog won’t be cheap. It comes at a prices of between $9 million and $32 million. Not only that, it will take from three to nine years for officials to get through the 6,661 untested kits that the FDLE says are under the agency’s jurisdiction.

There is another problem: Some counties, such as Pinellas have their own crime labs. Those counties will have to get their own funding in order for them to clear the 6,674 remaining rape kits.

The issue of mass amounts of untested rape kits is not limited to Florida, it’s a nationwide problem. According to CBS 10 News, President Barack Obama and Congress have set aside millions of dollars to help get rape kits tested in various cities.

Why are there so many untested rape kits?

With more than 13,000 untested rape kits in Florida, this number has people wondering why there is such a backlog. It’s because each time that prosecutor or detective does not request DNA evidence in a case, the rape kit is then booked into evidence, which ends up being stored in police evidence rooms.

Another backlog exists in crime labs where rape kits are sent for testing, but are in line for DNA analysis and have yet to be tested due to personnel or budgetary issues.

The FDLE poured $300,000 into a study to determine why Florida has such a problem with untested rape kits; the results will be presented before the legislature later this month.

In a statement, Attorney General Pam Bondi called the unprocessed sexual assault kits a public safety issue that must be addressed. She said that in the upcoming legislative session, she will work with law enforcement, lawmakers and victims’ advocates to ensure that Florida’s crime labs have the resources necessary to continue testing the unprocessed sexual assault kits, CBS 10 News reported.

If you are facing sexual assault charges in Tampa, contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to work with aggressive defense lawyers with a track record for success!