Five years ago, when the troubled Houston Police Department crime lab resumed DNA testing, more than 4,000 sexual assault kits sat in a property room freezer awaiting testing. Today, says the Houston Chronicle, much of that evidence — some dating to the 1990s — is still awaiting processing.
Only 200 cases have been shaved off that backlog. Lab officials say the slow process is due to a lack of manpower. Attorneys and policy makers say untested evidence in sexual assault cases has delayed justice for rape victims, many of whom have waited years for closure. “I’m outraged on behalf of the sexual assault victims who have had a sexual assault committed and an invasive procedure, that being the rape kit, and then learn that no one has used it in an investigation, that it’s in a storage room somewhere,” said state Sen. John Whitmire.