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Cornyn Chairs Hearing On National Rape Kit Backlog

Houston recently cleared its backlog of untested rape kits, but the problem still persists in other cities across the nation.

John Cornyn
Screengrab from the meeting named “Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights”

 

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, chaired a hearing on the backlog problem of untested rape kits in Washington on Wednesday.

He called the rape kit backlog a national tragedy, and says it has serious consequences.

“Since so many sexual assailants are serial offenders, there are very high CODIS hit rates in sexual assault cases. In other words, the DNA from a rape kit is often the material difference between a sexual predator going to jail, or remaining free to re-offend,” said Cornyn.

Skylor Hearn, assistant director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified at the hearing. He says sexual offenders are a certain breed of criminal.

“The shifting nature of the nation’s population and the transitory nature of some sexual predators have resulted in the need to view these crimes in a different light. There are many scenarios where serial offenders could escape detection, by targeting specific class of victim or by committing crimes across multiple jurisdictions,” said Hearn.

Since it costs as much as $1,500 dollars to test a single rape kit, many cities across the country find the task daunting.

Houston was among the first to eliminate its backlog of some 6,600 rape kits, with the help of nearly $6 million from the city and federal government.

 

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