'Disturbing' rape kit investigation prompts action in several states

DESTROYED rape kit exam animation orig_00012007

Story highlights

  • Washington and Michigan to agencies: Review your policies
  • New York Gov. calls findings 'disturbing'
  • Georgia lawmaker says he'll introduce kit destruction bill
  • Group vows to press for laws protecting rape kits from destruction

(CNN)The Washington attorney general said Tuesday he will notify every law enforcement agency in his state and direct them to ensure that rape kits are not being inappropriately destroyed. His action comes in response to a CNN investigation into the destruction of rape kits nationwide and on the heels of a Missouri police chief's apology to victims.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the destruction of kits by a police department in his state "disturbing" and directed state police to contact the agency and ensure it is "complying with state law regarding the handling of rape kits."
    Meanwhile, the group credited with convincing state legislators to enact laws requiring the testing of rape kits said it will push for the addition of language that prohibits destruction of the evidence.
      CNN's investigation "shined a bright light on a largely unknown" problem, said Ilse Knecht, director of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart foundation, a non-profit whose program End the Backlog focuses on untested rape kits.
      "You can't say all kits should be tested if kits are destroyed," Knecht said.
      End the Backlog altered its model legislation Monday to add a provision prohibiting destruction. It says: "Kits associated with a reported crime that is uncharged or unsolved should be preserved for 50 years or the length of the statute of limitations, whichever is greater."