Study Of Rape Kits Gathering Dust In Detroit May Yield Hundreds of Cases


A DNA sample found inside a rape kit, gathering dust inside a Detroit Police crime lab for more than 14 years, has led to multiple charges against a Detroit man, says the Detroit News. The sample was from one of more than 10,500 such kits found by state police during a 2010 audit of the Detroit crime lab that was closed two years earlier. The discovery has been a black eye for the city and the Detroit Police Department. However, authorities believe this prosecution could lead to dozens, if not hundreds, of sex crime charges.

The scandal helped bring together police, prosecutors, academics, researchers, and victim advocates, who will work together processing, investigating and eventually prosecuting the cases. A $200,000 federal grant led to the creation of the “Project 400,” which involves Michigan State University researcher Steven Pierce, the associate director of the MSU Center for Statistical Training and Consulting, to analyze the kits. Pierce randomly selected 400 of the kits for processing. That sample gave researchers an example of what they were dealing with, and researchers concluded about 5,700 of the kits contained viable biological evidence that could be used to identify rapists.

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