May 28th, 2013
11:12 PM ET

Outrage over nationwide rape kit backlog

At least 400,000 rape kits across the country have never been processed. In some cases. they've been shelved for decades while the suspects remain free.

"As someone who has tried rape cases without that vital evidence, it is just inexcusable that this kind of thing still happens in our country today," CNN Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin tells Wolf Blitzer. Going through the exam after being the victim of sexual assault can be invasive and difficult, making it even more unfortunate that the evidence is untested, she says.

In an AC360 report on the rape kit backlog, Randi Kaye interviewed a woman who followed up on her case more than two decades later and discovered that law enforcement had never processed the evidence. When they did, they found the man who raped her, but it was too late for her to press charges.

"There is no reason why there should be a statute of limitations," says Hostin. "With all the DNA matches and the advances we've made with DNA, a match could be made many years later, sometimes after the statute has passed." There are about 20 states that don't have a statute of limitations on rape cases, but Hostin calls it incomprehensible that the law differs outside those states.



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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Sunny Hostin
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  1. Patricia Gil

    My daughter was abducted at knife point and raped 21 years ago. After reading an article on rape kits in the latter part of 2011 I contacted the law enforcement agency that handled the case only to find that the rape kit had never been tested. A friend on the force found the kit, it was viable and had it tested. They had a definite match in CODIS. Her rapist was a serial rapist who was in prison for a rape that happened after my daughters. Finally after 21 years it is supposed to go to trial in October of this year. My daughter will get justice, I hope, but that leaves other kits sitting there untested which could possibly bring closure to other women. The law enforcement agency did say they would look at other cases with similar facts but the rape he is in jail for is nothing like my daughters rape. This is basically saying to the victim that the crime isn't important enough to warrant the time and cost to process the evidence of the crime. It is as if rape is a second class crime on a second class citizen, the crime not important enough, the victim not important enough. This must change. Every rape kit should be tested.

    May 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm |