Posted on November 16, 2009 at 6:02 PM
Tuesday, Nov 17 at 7:24 AM
The San Antonio Police Department on Monday announced a major change in how it handles rape cases as a result of a CBS investigation.Police Chief William McManus said from now on, the victim's rape kit will be tested for DNA evidence in all stranger rape cases.
According to police records, SAPD is currently storing 5,191 untested rape kits. Some of the rape kits date back nearly 30 years.
McManus said the majority of the untested kits come from cases where identity is not an issue. In those cases, what’s a question is whether the sex was consensual or rape, so DNA evidence is needed.
However, at least 178 untested rape kits come from cases where the victim is unknown. McManus said many of those kits were not previously tested because the victim did not want to pursue the case.
On Monday, SAPD changed that policy. From now on, all rape kits in stranger rape cases will be tested regardless of whether the victims want to pursue the case.
"We don't want to let any case where someone was sexually assaulted fall through the cracks," McManus said.
Lynn Blanco, director of the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center, said she was surprised to learn that some rape kits were not being tested, but she said she is pleased with SAPD’s new policy of testing all kits in stranger rape cases.
"I really think it's an important step for victims of sexual violence," Blanco said.