Seven Out of 10 Rape Kits Untested in Orange County

Of the 740 rapes reported in Orange County in the last 10 years, authorities say 70 percent of those were not tested and never will be

Almost three quarters of rape kits used in Orange County over the past decade have never been tested.

Of the 740 rapes reported there in the last 10 years, authorities said 70 percent of those were not tested and never will be, partly because the victim recanted or refused to cooperate

It comes as Vice President Joe Biden is set to promote a new funding plan Tuesday aimed at ending a nationwide backlog of untested kits.

"There's a large majority, a high percentage of rape kits that have not been tested over the course of the  last 12 or 14 years, but that is because the cases were… unfounded, there was no investigation. There was a reason that that kit did not need to be tested," Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.

California now has a law that is very specific in setting out how quickly rape kits must be tested. It is important as the kits provide the physical evidence that can be crucial in securing a conviction.

In 2016, all rape kits must be tested in California, and the OC Sheriff's Department began testing every rape kit last September, while the Los Angeles Police Department cleared its backlog after a major push in 2011 to test nearly 6,000 kits.

Despite this, backlogs are still a problem in much of California and the country as a whole.

Part of the problem is the expense of the tests, which  cost  about $1,200. However, Vice President Joe Biden is announcing Tuesday a $35 million federal funding package to help take care of the backlogs in cities that have them. There are still 400,000 untested rape kits in storage across the country.

Natasha Alexenko, who was the victim of a brutal sexual assault in New York in 1993, has spearheaded a campaign to end the backlog and knows how important they can be to jailing rapists. Her rape kit, which contained biological information about her attacker, sat on a shelf for nine years. 

During that time the man that raped her went on a nationwide crime spree, however the results from the test eventually brought the man to justice.

"It was very painful, it was very intrusive that being said it is something (I will )never  regret doing or else  this monster will still be on the streets today," Alexenko said.

Contact Us