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Wed Mar 13, 2019, 04:37 PM

Old Rape Kits Finally Got Tested. 64 Attackers Were Convicted.

Old Rape Kits Finally Got Tested. 64 Attackers Were Convicted.

The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., committed $38 million in forfeiture money in 2015 to help other jurisdictions test thousands of backlogged rape kits.CreditJeenah Moon/Reuters

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/nyregion/rape-kit-tests.html

By Ali Watkins

March 12, 2019


By February 2017, Maisha Sudbeck had made peace with the idea she would never get justice. It had been five years since she was raped in Tucson by a man she had met online. The police had brushed the case off as a he-said-she-said standoff. For years, her rape evidence kit had sat untested. With two children and a new marriage, she had moved on with her life.

Then a detective knocked on her door.

The detective said a grant from the Manhattan district attorney’s office had helped the Tucson authorities clear a backlog of untested rape kits, which preserve the DNA evidence left by an attacker. After five years, Ms. Sudbeck’s kit had finally been tested, the detective said. And the police had found a match in a database of people with criminal records: a man named Nathan Loebe.

“My chapter was reopened,” Ms. Sudbeck said. “Having my kit finally tested was a catalyst for hope.”

In February, Mr. Loebe was convicted of sexually assaulting Ms. Sudbeck and six other women. Ms. Sudbeck testified against him at trial.

Ms. Sudbeck’s case is one of thousands that have gotten a second look from investigators since the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., committed $38 million in forfeiture money to help other jurisdictions test rape kits. Since the grants began being distributed in 2015, the evidence kits have led to 165 prosecutions in cases that were all but forgotten. So far, 64 of those have resulted in convictions.

Rarely have public dollars from a local prosecutor’s office been so directly tied to results with such national implications. The initiative has paid to get about 55,000 rape kits tested in 32 law enforcement agencies in 20 states, among them the police departments in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Miami, Memphis, Austin, Tex., and Kansas City, Mo.

Nearly half produced DNA matches strong enough to be added to the F.B.I.’s nationwide database of genetic profiles. About 9,200 of those matched with DNA profiles in the system, providing new leads and potential evidence.

States across the country, meanwhile, have passed legislation to address the problem of untested rape kits. The Justice Department followed suit and started its own initiative, committing more than $150 million to continue the effort.

<snip>

Using money seized from international banks in New York that were accused of violating sanctions, Mr. Vance dedicated $38 million in grants to other law enforcement agencies to clear those backlogs. (New York City had already cleared its backlog a decade earlier.) Vice President Joe Biden announced a parallel federal program the same day.

Though the money was invested outside New York, it has helped close several cold cases in the city. “We have solved New York cases with kits tested from Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania and Virginia,” Mr. Vance said.

<snip>

Still, even with such successes, the problem of untested rape kits persists. Advocates for rape victims estimate that about 250,000 kits remain untested across the country.
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<snip>

“I believe fundamentally there was a gender bias at issue,” Mr. Vance said Tuesday, when asked about the backlog. “A crime mostly involving women was simply not viewed as important to solve.”

<snip>

The city has seen a spike in reported rapes, a trend that the police, advocates and prosecutors attribute to the #MeToo movement encouraging more women to come forward. The Police Department has responded to the criticism by adding 55 detectives to the division and naming a chief who is a woman to lead it.

<snip>

“They are nowhere near done,” Mr. Vance said.

Follow Ali Watkins on Twitter: @AliWatkins

29 replies, 2096 views

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Old Rape Kits Finally Got Tested. 64 Attackers Were Convicted. (Original post)
marble falls Mar 2019 OP
genxlib Mar 2019 #1
Turin_C3PO Mar 2019 #2
Liberty Belle Mar 2019 #6
James48 Mar 2019 #8
Pacifist Patriot Mar 2019 #24
smirkymonkey Mar 2019 #12
mahina Mar 2019 #27
mitch96 Mar 2019 #3
marble falls Mar 2019 #9
suffragette Mar 2019 #4
marble falls Mar 2019 #10
oldsoftie Mar 2019 #15
marble falls Mar 2019 #16
oldsoftie Mar 2019 #20
marble falls Mar 2019 #21
suffragette Mar 2019 #18
marble falls Mar 2019 #22
suffragette Mar 2019 #23
PatSeg Mar 2019 #5
marble falls Mar 2019 #11
mercuryblues Mar 2019 #7
Wounded Bear Mar 2019 #13
TexasBushwhacker Mar 2019 #14
Solly Mack Mar 2019 #17
likesmountains 52 Mar 2019 #19
marble falls Mar 2019 #26
Hermit-The-Prog Mar 2019 #25
MyOwnPeace Mar 2019 #28
marble falls Mar 2019 #29

Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 04:56 PM

1. This issue makes me see red.

Even as a male, this pisses me off. I can't even imagine how it makes women feel. What a fucked up disrespectful way to treat victims of such a horrible crime.

I am really glad that we are making progress working through the backlog. It is just a disgrace that it ever came to this.

Someday we will get caught up. And some enterprising young women will do a PhD thesis on the data. They will surely find that this neglect led to 1000's of rapist running free for years creating new victims along the way. It will be a case of national shame.

We need to just bite the bullet and fund all of them. Now! Before another single woman is needlessly raped by someone who should already be behind bars.

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Response to genxlib (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 04:58 PM

2. It's a national scandal.

A stain on our country.

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Response to genxlib (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 05:21 PM

6. Do they routinely test for DNA in murder cases? If so they should do so in all rape cases, too.

Otherwise this is just sex discrimination.

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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:16 PM

8. Note:

Men get raped too.

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Response to James48 (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 10:48 AM

24. Should go without saying. However, if...

men were raped at a proportion equal to women, I'd be willing to bet the backlog on rape kits wouldn't be nearly as bad.

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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:45 PM

12. It is sex discrimination.

"“I believe fundamentally there was a gender bias at issue,” Mr. Vance said Tuesday, when asked about the backlog. “A crime mostly involving women was simply not viewed as important to solve.”

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Response to genxlib (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 02:10 PM

27. Thank you four your aloha. Just to note that women aren't the only rape victims

Justice for all.
It seems crazy to take such dismissive liberties with people in such terrible distress. I’m hopeful.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 05:02 PM

3. "Old Rape Kits Finally Got Tested."

I would have been nice if one of these law and order mulit millionairs cough up the money to test ALL rape kits.. Hello Bezos? Gates? Buffet?Zuckerberg? Bloomberg??
I don't think any staunch wealthy conservatives would throw a few bucks in this direction..
m

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Response to mitch96 (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:16 PM

9. I wonder about that, too. Maybe the Kochs would like to spend some conscience money.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 05:10 PM

4. I wonder how many of those rapists committed additional rapes in the interim.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:16 PM

10. Plenty.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 07:16 PM

15. Exactly. This needs to be taken to a federal level in some way. This evidence MUST be tested!!

There is NO excuse for waiting. Put it to a vote for money dedicated to only this and i'd bet it would pass OVERWHELMINGLY

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Response to oldsoftie (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:05 PM

16. The Fed put $108M into the pot, too.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:35 PM

20. Good. Thats $432 per kit for 250k tests. That should be enough to put a dent in it.

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Response to oldsoftie (Reply #20)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:37 PM

21. At the least it will dent it. But as wise men used to say, "Justice delayed is justice denied".

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Response to marble falls (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:30 PM

18. Yes, too many. And too many victims who would not have been attacked if these had been processed

promptly, as they should be.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:46 PM

22. You'd think if two average folks like you and I can figure that out the authorities could, too ...

how many billion do police forces all across the county spend on training for the military crap they get? Does Mayberry need a personnel carrier, machine guns, and all the uniforms, helmets ... doesn't it look weird to you when you see militarized cops jumping out of a military vehicle in jump pants? Wouldn't it make more sense to find funds to process evidence?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 09:27 PM

23. Yeah, you'd think so. Agree as well about the misplaced priorities.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 05:11 PM

5. About 250,000 kits remain untested across the country???

This is outrageous, especially seeing how many attackers were arrested and convicted using the results of rape kits.

It is like rape isn't considered a real crime to some people.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:17 PM

11. Six years ago it was 400,000.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 05:27 PM

7. About 9,200 of those matched with DNA profiles in the system

About 9,200 of those matched with DNA profiles in the system, providing new leads and potential evidence.

Detroit's recent discovery of more than 800 serial rapists underscores the national problem of rape kit backlogs—and how ignored evidence leaves serial predators free to attack again

snip>
The goal is to stop serial rapists, according to End the Backlog, which said that the testing of backlogged rape kits in Detroit, Cleveland and Memphis found almost 1,300 serial offenders who committed crimes in at least 40 states. And researchers at Case Western Reserve University last year studied backlogged kits in Ohio and found over half the sexual assaults were connected to serial attackers, according to the organization.

https://www.newsweek.com/rape-kit-untested-sexual-assault-serial-rapist-detroit-prosecutor-nation-752440


A national disgrace is right.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:47 PM

13. We have the same shit here...

good on them for progress.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 06:58 PM

14. Victims of serial rapists should sue

Hundreds, if not thousands, of rapists are walking free and raping additional victims because of untested rape kits. If I was one of those victims of entirely PREVENTABLE rapes, I would sue those counties so fast their heads would spin off. It should not be OPTIONAL to process rape evidence.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:09 PM

17. K&R

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 08:33 PM

19. Amazing link is the story of my friend..22 years later her rape kit brings results

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Response to likesmountains 52 (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 01:23 PM

26. Thank you for posting this!!! ...

Most important paragraph ...

Christensen explained during the trial the reasons police gave in the past for not sending the kits to the lab. Sometimes detectives suspected the case couldn’t be prosecuted or a victim’s participation wasn’t assured, he said. Sometimes the lab was busy with other crime analysis or a victim wasn’t believed because of her lifestyle, drug use or uneven memory.

Way too angry to say the obvious in a civil voice. This what happens when cops go for easy conviction numbers over justice.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 12:52 PM

25. kick -- national disgrace needs more visibility

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 02:16 PM

28. And did you notice this?

Vice President Joe Biden announced a parallel federal program the same day.

My guess IQ45 won't be adding any $$$$ to that program - too many of his buddies might get caught up in the evidence (if not himself!).

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Response to MyOwnPeace (Reply #28)

Thu Mar 14, 2019, 02:19 PM

29. Simple choice for Trump, he really, really wants that wall.

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