A follow up article on the vast number of unprocessed rape kits in Wisconsin appeared in the print version of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the online Green Bay Gazette. Last year there was quite a bit of controversy around the number of rape kits that hadn’t been processed and the number of rapes that went unsolved as a result. Federal funds were secured to help catch up with the process and promises were made by the Wisconsin Department of Justice on getting caught up. But apparently that’s not the case.
And worse is the fact that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has been playing partisan politics to such an intense degree…suing the feds over Obamacare…suing the feds over clean air/water rulings…defending the Republican gerrymandering of Wisconsin…that he has no idea what his DOJ is actually doing. So last week this happened:
Attorney General Brad Schimel said Monday that “a few hundred” of the kits had been tested, though he could not immediately provide a specific number. He said the state is continuing to work to examine the kits, which contain forensic evidence that health professionals collect from victims that might help identify the attacker via DNA or other means.
“We’re working to eliminate the backlog,” Schimel said at a press conference in Green Bay. He said he believes “with many of our 6,000 kits, the offenders have already been convicted.”
Hundreds! He said hundreds. When the actual count is NINE. Now this figure does not appear in the online version of the article in the Gazette. But it appears in the printed version of MJS. So a side question is: Why would that be? But here is what it says in the print MJS:
The state has completed testing of nine kits, said Rebecca Ballweg, a spokeswoman in the office of Attorney General Brad Schimel. Another 200 are being tested
I don’t have the words to describe how bad this really is. But as I said earlier, the state received federal funds to help pay for processing…significant federal funds…$4 million for tests that run $1,000 a piece…and those funds were received months and months ago:
Wisconsin received the $4 million grant in September 2015.
The print article also said that some rape survivors don’t want to revisit the trauma surrounding their rape and therefore some kits won’t be processed. I can appreciate people not wanting to go back there. But there is a difference between processing the kits and reopening cases or bring charges when someone doesn’t want to pursue the issue.
But Schimel said:
…he believes “with many of our 6,000 kits, the offenders have already been convicted.”
Well let’s process the kits and find out…less close those cases. And we may also find out that we have serial rapists out there that aren’t in custody and if one person isn’t ready to testify, maybe others are. Then we can get a predator off the streets before someone else is harmed.
There are a million reasons to expedite processing rape kits. There are a million reasons to get the data in the state databases for local law enforcement to access. There are clear opportunities here to improve law enforcement and protect the community at large. And our top cop isn’t getting the job done.
This is a clear dereliction of duty on the attorney general’s part and he needs to keep the public up to date until all of the kits are processed.
And he needs to be replaced in 2018!
Finally found it: Here is the original JSOnline article: