In states around the country, there is a huge backlog of unprocessed rape kits.
This fact surprised me. If a person was violated, and a rape kit completed, aren’t the police OBLIGATED to investigate? Isn’t that the very definition of their job?
In 2015 florida passed legislature requiring their law enforcement agencies to audit unprocessed rape kits. The results of the audit?
13,435 unprocessed rape kits in the hands of 279 law enforcement agencies.
Recently a person was ARRESTED from the information obtained by processing one of those ignored kits. This was a person who had actually raped at least one person – they were out there roaming free, potentially recommitting the crime they had gotten away with for years!
Wait, what?!?!? Police aren’t investigating reported rapes? So how are they putting away hundreds of sexual predators? How are they keeping their communities safe??
Washington State too has a backlog of rape kits that have been unprocessed for years. They currently have over 10,000 untested kits, allowing at a minimum of hundreds of verifiable, convict able, undeniably predatory criminals free to roam and re offend.
Despite efforts by law makers in the state the number has only grown. Tina Orwall is one such representative. Twice she has introduced, backed, and enacted laws aimed at reducing the kit backlog and enabling arrests of these violent criminals but the situation has not changed.
I recently spoke with someone who explained to me why. Rapes are hard to prove. Witnesses, for both sides of a case, can be difficult in establishing just the facts with multiple perspectives on the incident in question. Investigations take a lot of time, money, and effort.
Compare to a police proactive sex sting…..ah the simplicity of getting a conviction on the word ‘attempted’. No investigation need be performed – the fact that someone showed up is enough to get a conviction regardless of their intention. In fact, you don’t even have to show up – sometimes the police come right to your door to arrest you based on an adult online conversation where they contend you BELIEVED you were chatting with a minor. Doesn’t matter if its true.
And attempted rape sentences are statistically longer than those given out to actual rapists. In fact almost all pro active sting arrestees take plea deals when faced with mandatory minimum sentencing trumped up as high as possible by the prosecutors. Take a deal for five years or risk 10 to life at a trial!
Easier, simpler, better statistics on convictions – why wouldn’t police choose to convict possibly innocent people in a sting over perusing actual reported cases? Oh, the ethical piece? That’s simple.
Law Enforcement makes money for every arrest and conviction – whether it was a real crime, a thought crime, or no crime at all…the ultimate equalizer – money.