Law & Order’s Hargitay Pleads For Clearing Rape Kit Backlog In Detroit


Prosecutor Kym Worthy in Detroit’s Wayne County enlisted some star power in her push for funding and legislation to help clear a backlog of thousands of untested Detroit rape kits, reports the Detroit Free Press. The news conference with Mariska Hargitay, from NBC's “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” came on the same day that a judge sent one of nearly 100 serial rapists identified by the rape kits to prison for 45-90 years. Hargitay said that the 11,000 untested rape kits found in a Detroit police warehouse in 2009 are part of a nationwide problem and an outrage.

“To me, this is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes,” said Hargitay, founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which has made clearing the national rape kit backlog — estimated at 400,000 kits or more — its major priority. “One would assume that if someone endures a four- to six-hour invasive examination, that that evidence would be handled with care.” Worthy said her office, with the help of federal grants and the Michigan State Police and others, has results of DNA testing for 2,000 of the kits. The state of Michigan appropriated $4 million to send the last roughly 7,400 kits to private labs for testing, and the State Police recently said all the kits should be tested by the end of this year.

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