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Tonight on AC360: Rape evidence ignored for decades
May 28th, 2013
06:03 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Rape evidence ignored for decades

Imagine being brutally attacked, then going through the pain of providing a rape kit for investigators, only to have it sit untouched, collecting dust on a shelf, for more than two decades. During that time, the rapist remains free – not only allowed to go about his business but free to brutalize and rape others because investigators aren’t looking for him. They can’t be looking for him because they’ve never tested the rape kit that contains his DNA.

In my story tonight for Anderson Cooper 360 you’ll meet two women who lived this nightmare. They went through the pain of providing a rape kit, only to have it sit on a shelf for more than two decades in each case. Carol Bart, who was raped in 1985, called the Dallas Police Department to check on the status of her kit in 2008. Unbelievably, it had not yet been processed more than 20 years later. Once it was, her rapist was identified in just four months. But that was too late for Carol to press charges since the statute of limitations had run out.

You’ll meet Carol tonight on AC360, along with Lavinia Masters, the other rape survivor we spoke with. Hear what they think about the fact that at least 400,000 rape kits are sitting untested in crime labs around the country.

What’s being done about this injustice? And why are police still playing catch-up all these years later? Be sure to catch my report tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

Follow Randi Kaye on Twitter

UPDATE Watch Randi's report from tonight's broadcast:

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Leann

    This is appalling in every single way it can be. What women have to go through to provide the material collected in the rape kit is incredibly invasive and personal, but they do it to help catch these criminals. To leave these kits get any dust on them is shameful. I hope every single woman whose rape kit sat untouched for all of these years sues the pants off the police stations that didn't think rape was important enough to investigate – all 400,000 of them! The sheer number of cases is enough to point out that rape is epidemic in our culture, and that they sat there for all these years is a testament that our police forces around the country could give a damn. I want my tax money back!

    May 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  2. jen

    Rape culture is an endemic scourge which has and does continue to affect a huge portion of our citizens. This backlog and inattention is shameful when this technology has been available for 20 years. It is not just the American military, but American law enforcement at large that fails to address and respond to sexual assault.

    May 29, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  3. karen

    Worse than this also happened in Phoenix AZ. Hundreds of cases were never followed up on at all and evidence never checked. This all was under Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He seriously needs to be removed from office. So much corruption has occurred under him.

    May 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm |