Watchdog Group Will Release Report on Rape Kit Backlog in LA County

Human Rights Watch will release a report tomorrow about the rape kit backlog in Los Angeles. The much-anticipated report, entitled "Testing Justice: The Rape Kit Backlog in Los Angeles City and County," is purportedly the first comprehensive study about the issue.

The 68-page report reveals that there are more than 12,000 untested rape kits sitting in crime lab storage facilities in local cities.

"Women who are raped have a right to expect police to do all they can to thoroughly investigate their case, but in L.A. they often feel betrayed to learn that their rape kits are never even tested," said Sarah Tofte, researcher with Human Rights Watch's U.S. program and author of the report. "And in some cases, failure to test means that a rapist who could have been arrested will remain free."

The report also looks at the backlog in the L.A.'s 47 cities that use the county crime lab for DNA analysis - with some shocking findings. According to Human Rights Watch, the City of Long Beach booked 1,911 rape kits into evidence in the past 15 years. Of those, 51 were sent to the crime lab, an estimated 780 untested kits were destroyed and 1,072 currently sit untested in a police storage facility.

LA Weekly reported on the DNA crisis on March 18, 2009.


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