The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) issued a long-awaited report today in which it found that more than 13,000 rape kits in the State of Florida have not been tested or submitted for processing. Florida’s backlog will cost millions and take years to clear up.
Each one of the 13,000 untested rape kits represents a separate victim of a sex crime in the State of Florida waiting for justice. It is a shame that sexual crimes – which are among the most hideous in our society – have been put on the backburner due to a lack of financial reources being devoted to their investigation. These are the crimes whose investigations warrant the highest priority. DNA evidence is often the best evidence of a sexual crime and a victim’s best opportunity at justice. The long wait in testing rape kits delays, and therefore denies justice to victims. A lengthy delay in testing a DNA rape kit could allow a pepetrator to re-offend, flee the State, or result in the disparreance of other witnesses or evidence.
The FDLE study concluded that that the most efficient and inexpensive way to manage the untested kits is through a combination of outsourcing, overtime for lab workers and federal funding. Going forward let’s hope that the State of Florida makes the testing and submitting of DNA rape kits a higher priority.