This week in our Cold Case Convictions series, where we highlight cases in which the testing of rape kits years later helps bring perpetrators to justice, we turn to Tennessee.
Behind the rape kit backlog is cultural misunderstanding of sexual assault. Too often, victims who report to law enforcement are belittled, harassed, disbelieved, dismissed.
The untested kits date back to 1985.
This summer has brought more news from Memphis, including developments with a federal lawsuit facing the city and the city’s investigation into the causes of its rape kit backlog.
Keli Rabon is an investigative reporter with Call7News in Denver, Colorado. Her work to uncover rape kit backlogs in both Denver and Memphis has led to policy changes, and has earned Keli numerous awards. ENDTHEBACKLOG spoke with her.
Over the past several weeks, the colors of the ENDTHEBACKLOG map, which demonstrates everything we currently know about the rape kit backlog nationwide, have been changing.
Memphis has made a commitment to address and eliminate the city’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits. And they're not alone in their efforts to tackle the backlog.
Last week, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong announced that the agency has more than 12,000 untested rape kits sitting in storage facilities—about 4,000 more than previously reported—and that it will take more than $4 million to process them all.
Recently, the rape kit backlog has been an increasingly common topic in news stories from across the country, from Ohio and Illinois to Texas and Tennessee.