DETROIT - For those who have been raped or have a loved one who has been raped, it's no mystery how horrifying the crime is.
"He said, 'Don't look at me,'" said a 72-year-old rape victim. "I begged, 'Don't hurt me.' He said, 'Lay down,' asked me if I had condoms. I said, 'I'm 72 years old,' then he raped me."
Almost 5,000 people are raped every year in Michigan. It is a crime that haunts victims for years and when a rapist gets away with the crime once, there is a good chance they will do it again.
"I don't know why they did that to my child," said the mom of a little boy who was raped. "They traumatized my child. He is not the same little, happy boy that he was."
Local 4 learned that five years ago, there was a law enforcement screw-up that may have allowed an unknown number of rapists get away with their crime. More than 11,000 rape kits were discovered, left behind in an abandoned police building. They were never tested.
Police use rape kits to get DNA evidence off of the victim after an alleged rape. Often when the kit is tested, the evidence can lead to finding the rapist.
Five years after those 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered, only 11 percent have been tested, 89 percent still sitting on the shelf.
Of the discovered kits that have now been tested, more than half has provided evidence that led to specific people, a rate which Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said is extraordinary.
"So far, just out of that, we have over 60 serial rapist that have been identified," Worthy said, "and these monsters aren't just raping people here in Metro Detroit."
Rapes from those kits tested have been connected to victims in 20 other states, from Alaska to Florida.
Since the kits that have been tested have been successful, it begs the question, why haven't the others been tested?
"It's insulting to rape victims that have the courage to step forward and report their rapes go through a three-to five-hour rape kit exam," Worthy said.
When the remaining 9,743 kits are tested, it's expected they will lead to 3,000 new investigations. The total cost to test the kits and catch the rapists: $7 million.
In June, Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette said they will make sure the $4 million for testing is available, but the $3 million to capture and prosecute those rapists is still up in the air. The money is just not available in the country prosecutor's budget.
"It doesn't make any sense to have all those kits tested and not investigate and prosecute them," Worthy said.
With the budget an issue, there's no telling how many more years it will take to have the remaining kits tested or how many more innocent people could be raped as a result of the department's mistake.
Worthy said the kits will get tested and the rapists will get prosecuted. She added that if she has to get federal money or private money, she will, but she hopes that the local community will see the importance of taking these offenders out of the neighborhoods and make it a priority item when making the budget.
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