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Hundreds of Women in Illinois Find that their Rape Kits Were Never Tested

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By: Staff Blogger

The violation of a woman’s body can lead to years of emotional, physical and psychological pain. For some women in the predominately Black town of Robbins, IL  just outside of Chicago, this pain was magnified when their rape kits were never tested. Potential criminals were free to offend again while these women were left grappling for answers and justice.

Robbins, IL is in Cook County and a recent investigation by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office discovered that at least 203 kits were collected, but never tested.

Three years ago, the state of Illinois passed a law that requires the police to look for and process older kits.  In Robbins, IL alone, police were able to find boxes full of materials that could have assisted in the conviction of offenders.  They discovered clothes, blood and other evidence with viable DNA samples. In total, they found  51 kits that were never tested and processed.

The police, through ongoing searches, found an additional  150 kits that were submitted for processing, but were never fully tested which means that potential DNA evidence was not evaluated or matched to the  national database that is used to identify and apprehend suspects.

Cook County is not the only county  that has cracked down on untested kits. Wayne  County, which encompasses Detroit, has a prosecutor who is determined to restore justice to the system. Kim Worthy recently began an investigation looking into rape cases that were never solved. In too many instances, when kits are not tested, perpetrators become repeat offenders and continue to hurt other, unsuspecting women.

For the women who were victims, learning about the breakdown in the procedures can open old wounds and further victimize the victims. Although no amount of time can recapture what these women lost, new laws are making it more difficult for police departments to misplace kits. Future generations of women will not have to deal with what the women of Robbins, IL and elsewhere, had to endure.