The Law 200k+ US sexual assault kits never processed

Chief

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To cut costs, where there was no dispute that sexual activity took place, the issue being one party claiming it was consensual, rape kits were never processed.

They were thought to be only of use if the identity was unknown.

Other times, if the police thought there wasn't much likelihood of the attacker being found or prosecuted, they didn't process the evidence kits.

The first warehouse was found in New York with 17,000 unprocessed evidence kits. 12k found in Detroit. Then across the US more cities "discovered" they had stockpiles of kits - tens of thousands of them. The estimate is 200,000 stockpiled, unprocessed kits.

These kits - many dating back decades - are slowly being processed and the stats are surprising everyone.

The people involved in disputed acquaintance rapes are showing up in stranger rapes quite often. This flies in the face of common belief that people are one or the other type of rapist.

Many attackers in disputed acquaintance rapes are also showing up as serial acquaintance rapists across US states.

Most serial rapists commit 7-11 rapes before being caught.

Detroit alone discovered 830 serial rapists in their data, and they’re not finished processing their backlog.

200+ convictions.

5,500 new cases have been opened.


The More or Less podcast is really interesting - give it a listen.


Another crucial aspect of police retraining has been to change investigators’ attitudes towards people who report being raped. “The victim of rape is not always believed, but studies show that false accusations of rape are no greater than for any other crime,” says Pinchin.​

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530125-200-us-rape-test-backlog-down-to-mindset-not-just-money/#ixzz64dygwMIF
 
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Chief

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Many attackers in disputed acquaintance rapes are also showing up as serial acquaintance rapists across US states.
Being on mobile at the time, the post above isn't written in my usual impeccable prose.

In the US a huge number of men accused in acquaintance rapes are not prosecuted, and now we find that for decades many DNA evidence kits have not even been processed.

The accuser wasn't believed, or not enough evidence was produced to get police to investigate. It was considered a waste of money to process the kits.

Now we find that they had the evidence in their collective hands.

20-25% of men accused in acquaintance rapes show up in either stranger rapes or other acquaintance rape accusations. They show up in multiple states. So these guys (we can assume a few are women, I'd have to check the source) are travelling between cities and committing rapes. They are moving around, presumably to hide their pattern of serial rape.

Compare that with an 3% conviction rate for all rape accusations in Australia - that's before the under-reporting by victims. It is undeniable that it is very difficult to get yourself accused of rape, and even harder to get yourself convicted.

Police departments in the US have been found to under report rape statistics to give the illusion of reducing crime. Rape is an easy win if you want to scare someone off reporting or pursuing charges.

Hopefully the news that kits will be processed and there is a powerful machine in place to match the results with rapes all across the country will encourage more women in the US to come forward and at least supply DNA evidence.

It would be interesting to see what the case is in Australia. Is all DNA evidence processed? Is it all cross-matched? Anyone know?
 

shellyg

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It would be interesting to see what the case is in Australia. Is all DNA evidence processed? Is it all cross-matched? Anyone know?
I think it is now Chief but that's only been a fairly recent development in the last few years and it's my understanding there's a backlog in every state.
 

CM86

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I read this, and thought it must be some kind of sick joke. But after some searching... I found this isn't even a new story... This was news over a year ago...
The stats weren't known... but the headline itself should have been big enough news.

How is this not a bigger deal?
 

Chief

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I read this, and thought it must be some kind of sick joke. But after some searching... I found this isn't even a new story... This was news over a year ago...
The stats weren't known... but the headline itself should have been big enough news.

How is this not a bigger deal?
It looks like it became standard practice in order to manage budgets. It looks like it was seen just as an identity confirmation, or unnecessary until they were sure it would go to trial.

Now they seem to have realised they screwed up and are getting money in to correct it.
 

Chief

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I hadn't really looked at this, but the reporting shows a pretty ugly situation in the US:


Drawing from the last published Uniform Crime Reporting data on "unfounded" reports in 1996, the FBI says the unfounded rate for "forcible rape," at 8 percent, is higher than the average for all other crimes measured, at 2 percent. However, the agency has since modified its guidelines to narrow this definition. Criminal justice professor Philip Rumney, writing in the Cambridge Law Journal in 2006, questions these numbers, which come from law enforcement agencies across the United States: "Among such a large number of agencies there is likely to be a significant variation in recording practice," he writes, citing the Philadelphia Police Department, which "dumped cases," labeling them "unfounded," in order to "reduce workload" for nearly two decades.​

Then there is the difference between the UK and US - UK police send DNA out to private labs so they are more stringent about what DNA they even collect let alone test, while most police forces in the US have internal labs so they send them everything, creating a backlog.
 

Madison

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They’ve talked about this on the My Favourite Murder podcast. It’s so f’ed up. They’ve done some things to raise money for it to help clear the backlog.

It’s just so crazy that cops back in the day didn’t do the most basic aspects of their job. The amount of people that could have been spared is tragic.
 

Chief

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They’ve talked about this on the My Favourite Murder podcast. It’s so f’ed up. They’ve done some things to raise money for it to help clear the backlog.

It’s just so crazy that cops back in the day didn’t do the most basic aspects of their job. The amount of people that could have been spared is tragic.
From what I can see there is money to clear the backlog and has been for 15 years now, but it is up for re-approval.
 

ep2018

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Not just rape cases, kidnapping and murder cases too. I listened to a podcast episode a week ago about about a girl in Oklahoma in the mid 90s who was kidnapped from her own bedroom and there was blood at the scene, it became a cold case for twenty years until someone who went through the evidence again realized that no one tested the blood for DNA. When they tested it, it matched the next door neighbor, who was promptly arrested and charged. Apparently the department at the time was underfunded, and DNA tests cost a bit. The detective at the time it happened thought the blood belonged to her (as opposed to the person responsible), and didnt have it tested. Supposedly, some police departments are so underfunded over there that some DNA is never tested, like the case above. I suspect some of these rape kits havent been tested for the same reason.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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I hadn't really looked at this, but the reporting shows a pretty ugly situation in the US:


Drawing from the last published Uniform Crime Reporting data on "unfounded" reports in 1996, the FBI says the unfounded rate for "forcible rape," at 8 percent, is higher than the average for all other crimes measured, at 2 percent. However, the agency has since modified its guidelines to narrow this definition. Criminal justice professor Philip Rumney, writing in the Cambridge Law Journal in 2006, questions these numbers, which come from law enforcement agencies across the United States: "Among such a large number of agencies there is likely to be a significant variation in recording practice," he writes, citing the Philadelphia Police Department, which "dumped cases," labeling them "unfounded," in order to "reduce workload" for nearly two decades.​

Then there is the difference between the UK and US - UK police send DNA out to private labs so they are more stringent about what DNA they even collect let alone test, while most police forces in the US have internal labs so they send them everything, creating a backlog.
I am enjoying this thread so far and will look at it some more when I'm not working, it's disturbing.

What I also found disturbing is reading the story you included in this post and the premise is it that false reporting is rare, they put the figure at somewhere from 2 - 10% while the FBI is quoted as having the figure at around 6%. To me, 6% is far from rare, that's 6 in every 100 or 60 out of every 1,000. In Australia's case, around 400 per year are wrongly accused.
 

Chief

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I am enjoying this thread so far and will look at it some more when I'm not working, it's disturbing.

What I also found disturbing is reading the story you included in this post and the premise is it that false reporting is rare, they put the figure at somewhere from 2 - 10% while the FBI is quoted as having the figure at around 6%. To me, 6% is far from rare, that's 6 in every 100 or 60 out of every 1,000. In Australia's case, around 400 per year are wrongly accused.
But compared to false reporting of other crimes it is no more prevalent.

Some rhetoric has been that men should be afraid because false accusations are rampant - a rate of “five times that of other crimes” has been trotted out.
 

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shellyg

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It would be interesting to see what the case is in Australia. Is all DNA evidence processed? Is it all cross-matched? Anyone know?
Australia's NCIDD has more than 1.2 million DNA profiles in the database. Watching the crime board I've gathered that cold case rapes stay at the bottom of the pile in every state unless there's a reason to think they might be connected to another major crime.

 

Chief

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Australia's NCIDD has more than 1.2 million DNA profiles in the database. Watching the crime board I've gathered that cold case rapes stay at the bottom of the pile in every state unless there's a reason to think they might be connected to another major crime.

Given the US situation, you’d think there is a pretty good reason to get them processed and matched.
 

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