LANSING – State Representative Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) said today that she is pleased that her House colleagues support her efforts to encourage the U.S. Congress to approve President Barack Obama’s plan to spend $35 million to help communities process rape kits. Rep. Roberts’ House Concurrent Resolution 32 and House Resolution 382 were adopted by a unanimous vote today in the House Criminal Justice Committee, and then adopted by the full House of Representatives.
“I am pleased that my colleagues are joining me to call on Congress to approve this funding so that victims of sexual assault can have a chance to see their attacker arrested, charged and convicted,” said Rep. Roberts. “Communities facing a backlog, of untested rape kits need help with the cost of that testing. This is funding that will make a significant difference in the lives of victims and will help make our communities safer when attackers are taken off the streets.”
The closing of a police crime lab in Detroit left more than 10,000 rape kits untested. With the assistance of state and federal funding, the city is addressing that backlog, but there are still thousands of kits to test. Testing the kits often leads to impressive results. Among the first 1,200 kits tested, there were 455 matches in the DNA database, including matches linking to crimes committed in 22 other states and the District of Columbia. The prosecutor’s office identified 127 potential serial rapists and obtained 14 convictions of rapists who are tied to rapes reported in 12 other states and the District of Columbia.
“Communities do the best they can, but unfortunately, budgets are tight, and that means services can suffer. That is why it is so important for Congress to act on the president’s proposal that would help communities here in Michigan, as well as in other states, with the cost of rape kit processing,” said Rep. Roberts. “I hope that Congress will listen to us and approve this funding so that victims can have some justice.”