The failure of police departments around the country to test and analyze evidence connected to sexual assaults shows contempt for victims, public safety and justice, says a New York Times editorial. Experts say the number of rape kits awaiting analysis and entry of the DNA profiles into state and national databases — a crucial step for solving cases and identifying other crimes committed by an assailant — is likely well over 100,000.
Prompted by this terrible record, congressional Republicans and Democrats have thrown their support behind a new $41 million federal grant program proposed by President Obama to support comprehensive efforts by communities to process untested rape kits and investigate and prosecute the cases. The House approved the appropriations bill, but it is stalled in the Senate over unrelated issues. The Times says, “Leaders in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle, must find another vehicle to finance the rape kit testing program if it remains blocked in the Senate…Not taking action would be disastrous for public safety.”