Recently, a Colorado television news station performed an investigation which revealed that law enforcement agencies in the state have not been processing rape kits in a timely fashion. According to the report, Denver police failed to test 44 percent of the kits collected since 2008. In Fort Collins, 72 percent of kits collected since 2007 had not been tested. Apparently, the law enforcement agents through that the kits were not to be tested if the suspect was known to the victim but the policy has recently been changed.
Women who report rape or sexual assault undergo invasive medical scrutiny in order to procure the evidence for the rape kits, but they have not been processed. Not entering the evidence in a timely manner can result in degraded samples. Additionally, not entering the data into the DNA databases can result in missed opportunities to catch serial offenders.
For those accused of rape, these kinds of evidence backlogs can result in a long and drawn-out process to clear their name. Even just the charges of sexual assault or rape can have serious repercussions throughout the accused's life. Conviction for sexual charges can often result in having to register as a sex offender.
The legal consequences for sex crimes are serious, and cases are emotional for all parties involved. For those who have been wrongfully accused, it is often through issues of evidence that the convictions come through. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help to ensure that all protocols are followed and an aggressive defense is presented.
Source: Reporter Herald, "Evidence from alleged rapes must be processed," Dec. 3, 2012