Police Chief Admits His Department Destroyed 333 Rape Kits
Sexual assault crimes have long been a serious problem in the United States. While the number of rapes that are committed has been declining in recent years, as have other forms of violent crime, the United States still frequently finds itself among nations with the highest number of confirmed rapes in the world. In addition, conviction rates are often shockingly low, in part because most rapes have no independent witnesses. Unlike some crimes that happen in broad daylight, and often in view of security cameras, rapes usually occur behind closed doors and no one can verify the claims of either party.
That’s why attaining physical evidence is so important, and why victims need to see a doctor as soon as they can after a rape has happened. If a medical professional doesn’t put a rape kit together, there may be no real evidence that anything occurred.
So imagine how you would feel if you or someone you loved was assaulted, and you followed all of the proper channels to seek justice. You filed a report with the police, and you let a doctor collect evidence for a rape kit. But as time went by, you never heard anything from the police department. Weeks, months, and maybe even years had passed without the perpetrator seeing the inside of a courtroom, much less an interrogation room.
Then imagine how it would feel if you learned that your rape kit, the only piece of evidence that could prove that you were the victim of a crime, had been destroyed by the police. Well that’s exactly what happened in North Carolina, where Harold Medlock, Chief of Police for the Fayetville Police Department, has made a stunning admission. Between 1995 and 2008, 333 of their rape kits were destroyed to make more space in their evidence room, of which, 167 were for unsolved crimes.