Unprocessed rape kit statistics show interesting trend

Many rape kits in Minnesota haven't been processed by law enforcement agencies. Over 170 agencies in the state have said that they have unprocessed rape kits. In fact, there are 3,482 rape kits that haven't been tested yet in the state, but agencies only reported not knowing the reason for the unprocessed kits in 329 cases.

Some of these date back into the 1980s. In some cases, it would seem pointless to process the rape kit because of the state's statute of limitations, which is three to nine years for sexual misconduct cases depending on the circumstances of the case.

There are a few reasons why these kits have remained unprocessed. The primary reason is that the alleged victim didn't want to pursue charges. In some cases, the prosecutors declined to pursue charges, investigations were closed or the allegations were unfounded.

One point that makes some cases interesting is the use of an anonymous collection system for instances in which the alleged victim allowed the kit to be collected but didn't want to file a police report. In Duluth, for example, 30 percent of the unprocessed kits were anonymous kits.

Many police departments are reporting that they don't have any unprocessed kits. The St. Paul Police Department noted that it hasn't had any unprocessed kits since it shipped the unprocessed kits to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension five years ago.

When you consider the fact that the alleged victims refused to cooperate with the authorities was the primary reason for the kits to remain unprocessed, it is easy to see that false accusations of rape do occur. Anyone who is accused of rape or a sex-related crime should be ready to build a defense against the charges.

Source: Star Tribune, "State officials detail backlog of rape kits," Jennifer Bjorhus, Nov. 12, 2015

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