States Reviewing Rape Kit Policies After “Disturbing” Destruction Discovery

The reviews come days after a Missouri police chief apologized to rape victims for the same thing.

rape kits
A sexual assault evidence collection kit in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Laboratory. (Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
Christian Science Monitor/Getty

States from Washington to New York are directing law enforcement agencies to review their rape kit policies after it was discovered that many were being “inappropriately” destroyed.

A recent CNN investigation into the improper destruction of rape kits nationwide has prompted action from several leaders, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who called the mishandling “disturbing.” Cuomo has since instructed officers in his state to ensure those in their command are “complying with state law regarding the handling of rape kits.”

The Washington state attorney general said on Tuesday that he, too, would review rape kit policies and ensure officers are properly handling the sensitive evidence.

Furthermore, CNN reports, advocacy group the Joyful Heart Foundation — which lobbies for the testing of backlogged rape kits — is now pushing for an end to the destruction of the kits.

CNN‘s investigation “shined a bright light on a largely unknown” problem, said the foundation’s director of policy and advocacy, Ilse Knecht. “You can’t say all kits should be tested if kits are destroyed,” she said.

In it’s investigation, CNN revealed that some 25 law enforcement agencies in 14 states destroyed rape kits in 400 cases before the statutes of limitations expired or when there was no time limit to prosecute. Since the news agency only surveyed 207 law offices out of the more than 1,700 that operate across the U.S., the number of destroyed kits is likely much higher than 400.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.