Wayne Co. sets aside $1M towards backlogged rape kits

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Authorities in Wayne County announced Tuseday morning one million dollars is being allocated towards efforts to get the remaining rape kits tested. The money will also go towards investigators and prosecutors who are on the special task force.

The task force started with just two investigators and 11,000 untested rape kits, and 15 people are now on the task. More than 1,600 cases are currently waiting investigation.

It's no secret the coutny is strapped for cash, but County Executive Warren Evans says the other needs in the community can't be ignored.

"You can't really run a county just worrying about paying the bills. You also understand that you've got to protect the public. That's something I did for 40 years in a different capacity, but it's something I have to step up to the plate and work on for the benefit of Wayne County citizens today," he says Tuesday morning at the news conference.

"[The previous administration] did not think this was important at all. In fact, they tried to get me now to do it unless I could get outside funds. Even though - the last time I checked - sexual assault is a violent crime that has to be prosecuted. So, when we have that kind of opposition it's very difficult, and that changed in January," Prosector Kym Worthy said.

The 11,000 untested rape kits were found back in 2009. Since then, 10,000 or so have been tested, identifying more than 500 suspected serial rapists. Currently, 149 active cases are being worked.

This new money to test the remaining kits came from a delinquent tax revolving fund transferred from the county treasurer. Evans says that money could not have been used in any other part of the budget. He did not elaborate on the reason.