Rape Kit Backlog: Dallas DA Expanding Sex Assault Unit

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DALLAS -- There are not a lot of crimes more heinous than sexual assault.  Needless to say, the backlog of over 4,000 untested rape kits currently sitting in a Dallas PD warehouse can be considered a major problem.

To address the problem, the department is receiving grant money that will help them test 65 kits per week.  At that rate, it'll take them about 18 months to get caught up.

With all that evidence being processed, District Attorney Susan Hawk is  expecting her office to have its hands full with a lot of new cases over the next year and a half.

"We project that 20% of them will come back with a DNA match," said Hawk. "And so that means these cases will need to be investigated."

To help handle all those new cases, she's re-organizing and expanding the sexual assault unit, adding an attorney, an investigator, and a victim's advocate. That more than doubles the existing unit.

"Our case load is increasing dramatically," Hawk said. "Once there is a match, or there is a hit with the DNA test and the individual is identified, we want to make sure that we notify the victim, first and foremost."

With 4,000 potential cases to review, dating back to 1998, they've got their work cut out for them.

"Anything where we're talking about victims, I take it personally," said Hawk. "We're starting with the cases in 2011 and going back, and making sure justice is served for these victims, because they have waited a long time for their case to be heard."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.