The Untested Rape Kit Crisis and Cold Case Sexual Assault Prosecutions

03/14/2014 - 2:00pm
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Sponsoring Agency: 
National Center for Victims of Crime

The Untested Rape Kit Crisis and Cold Case Sexual Assault ProsecutionsIn 2009, over 11,300 untested rape kits were discovered in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility.  With funding from the National Institute of Justice, a two and one-half year project was begun to determine why the kits went untested and to develop strategies for preventing this type of crisis from reoccurring.Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor will discuss why the kits went untested for decades and the importance of utilizing a victim-centered approach when notifying victims that their case has been re-opened. In addition, she will provide insights into the investigative process and what prosecutors need to successfully charge and convict offenders in cold case sexual assaults. Any doubts as to the value of testing older rape kits will be quickly dispelled by the project results which have already resulted in the identification of numerous serial offenders.   Presenter: Kym L. WorthyOn January 6, 2004, in Detroit, Michigan, Kym Loren Worthy was sworn in as the chief law enforcement officer of Wayne County.  Surrounded by family and friends, it was a historic moment as Worthy became the first African-American, and the first woman, to become the Wayne County Prosecutor.  The 63-member bench of the Wayne County Circuit Court appointed Worthy to the position.  Worthy has run unopposed in every election.  She is strongly committed to the mission of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office i to pursue justice, to safeguard the community by demanding accountability for those who commit crimes and to enhance the quality of life by changing the culture of violence. Worthy earned her undergraduate degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame.  She is the mother of Anastasia, 16 and 4 year-old twin daughters Alessondra and Anniston.

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