UPDATED STORY WITH AUDIO:
With possibly hundreds of thousands of rape kits untested across the country, a number of states are proposing legislation to address backlogs that in at least one case dates back nearly three decades. The issues is not a major problem in cities like Smyrna, LaVergne and Murfreesboro, but is a concern in larger metropolitan areas.
Murfreesboro Police Sgt. Kyle Evans told WGNS, “We do not have any backlog of rape kits or blood kits. They are sent to the TBI for testing and analysis and we have not had problems with the process.”
New York-based Rape Kit Action Project says that there are more than 12,000 untested rape kits going back to the 1980s in places like Memphis, Tenn. We talked to State Representative Mike Sparks who lives in Smyrna about this issue and he suggested that even though the rape kit “testing backlog” does not exist in Rutherford County, we still have to deal with the problem at hand...
Sparks told WGNS he would call and / or send a message to TBI Director Mark Gwyn today about the situation.
By the way, Tennessee is among at least 17 states with proposals that range from requiring law enforcement agencies to inventory their rape kits to analyzing them in a certain amount of time. Three states have passed laws that mandate a statewide accounting of untested rape kits.
In 2006, a study was released by the TBI Crime Statistics Unit on “Sex Offense Research” in Tennessee. During the year of study, forcible rape was reported by over 37% of sexual crime related victims. 62% of sexual violence victims were under the age of 18, according to the research.
Full statement on rape kits by State Rep. Mike Sparks (Republican)1:04:
Read the study below: