October 16, 2014 — Each one of the thousands of untested rape kits in the U.S. "represents a botched chance to solve a case and identify other crimes perpetrated by an assailant," a New York Times editorial states.
The editorial notes that Joyful Heart Foundation earlier this month "announced dismaying figures" showing that four major U.S. cities have thousands of untested rape kits stored in police facilities. According to the announcement, "'few states and no federal agencies require that law enforcement track or count the untested rape kits in their storage facilities,'" the Times adds.
This lack of oversight "represents a colossal law enforcement failure to seek justice for rape victims and to protect the public's safety," the editorial states.
The Times urges Congress "to finish work on an appropriations bill for the Justice Department and other agencies containing $41 million for a new federal grant program ... dedicated solely to processing untested rape kits, investigating leads and conducting prosecutions." Although "a much larger federal investment" would be needed to end the backlog of untested rape kits, "the $41 million would be a meaningful start," the Times concludes (New York Times, 10/14).