Working off rape test kit backlog, Memphis police ID 19 rapists

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Officials say nearly 5,000 of 12,000 backlogged rape evidence kits have been tested in Memphis, leading to dozens of indictments.

Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s office says investigations have resulted in 52 indictments of known individuals or their DNA profiles. From those indictments, 19 alleged rapists have been identified, including 14 believed to be multi-case offenders.

Experts say Memphis has one of the nation’s largest known backlogs of rape kits, and Wharton created the Sexual Assault Kit Taskforce to work through them. Rape victims have filed a lawsuit over the untested kits.

The taskforce says 4,892 backlogged kits have been tested since they were discovered in 2013.

The city has allocated $4.25 million and the state has given $1 million for testing.

Of the 19 identified rapists, 14 are considered multi-case offenders, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Of the 19 rapists indicted after the investigations, 10 were in prison for other crimes, two were in jail awaiting trial for other crimes and seven were arrested.

The city allocated $4.25 million and the state gave $1 million to test the kits, which include evidence of sexual assault such as body fluids and hair.