ProPublica published an article reporting on the failure to analyze over 1,800 slides containing evidence of sexual assault.
A visionary Baltimore County doctor collected evidence from sexual assault survivors starting in the 1970s, hoping that someday this would help convict rapists. This evidence, stored in the form of glass slides, was collected from more than 2,000 rape exams.
The Baltimore County Police Department has sporadically tested approximately 80 of these slides. This testing has resulted in dozens of arrests and the exposure of serial rapists, including a man who assaulted at least 25 women and murdered one.
Despite the clear importance of the slides for community safety and justice for survivors, over 1,800 slides remain untested.
MCASA's Executive Director, Lisae C. Jordan Esq., noted that there should be clear commitment from Baltimore County Police and the hospital retaining the slides to preserve and test this evidence stating, "the slides are rape kits: They contain evidence collected from the bodies of sexual assault survivors and were retained to help determine who committed a rape... Any destruction of the slides would be contrary to the spirit of the law and possibly the letter of the law."
New Attorney General Anthony Brown stated, “I am concerned that evidence from approximately 1,800 sexual assault exams has not yet been processed and am committed to ensuring that this evidence is protected from destruction.”
It is clear that there is a need for transparency to ensure that this evidence is maintained and tested.
MCASA advocates annually in Annapolis for legislation that promotes justice for survivors of sexual violence, and is committed to resolving this issue and supporting transparency of rape kit testing in Maryland. To learn more about MCASA's advocacy efforts in Annapolis, visit our website.