Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 6.40.48 PMOver 11,000 abandoned rape kits were found in a Detroit Police storage facility in 2009. This means they were untested – some for at least 25 years – and thousands of rapists were free to rape again.

“I was in shock. I was outraged, and I just assumed kits were being tested,” said actress Mariska Hargitay of NBC’s Law and Order: SVU and founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation that works to “heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.”

Hargitay has joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to help introduce legislation aimed to set guidelines and deadlines for the processing of rape kit tests.

Thanks to the “Detroit Rape Kit Project,” 1,600 rape kits have been processed, identifying 100 serial and 10 convicted rapists. Fourteen rapists have been prosecuted including repeat offender DeShawn Starks, 32.

According to Detroit prosecutors, Starks raped two women in 2003. Both kits remained stored and untested for 10 years, until Worthy stepped in.

Starks went on to rape two more women in 2013. He was just sentenced 45-90 years.


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  • MmmGood

    Glad they finally found some, but it makes me so angry to know that those kits were just sitting there for decades, allowing these rapists to walk freely and rape again.

  • Simone L

    I am so happy about this initiative and kudos to Mariska and others. This is sad though…you get raped, do a kit and it just sits somewhere untested while your rapist runs free.

  • Me

    I’m sure it probably ain’t just detroit but doesn’t any public worker actually do their job out there? can’t manage the city’s money, can’t fight crime… so what y’all telling me is people just be collecting checks out there for nothing. and we wonder why it’s on it’s way to being a ghost town. i hope a lawsuit is on the way for at least those 2 1st women that starks raped. is it even still possible to try him for those crimes now or did that city’s half ass job put these women past the statutory time limit? damn. women mean that little to that city that TWENTY FIVE years of nothing got done? cuz i’m pretty sure it ain’t just one person that was in charge of this for 25 years. i’m sure lots of different people were hired to do that job over those years & not a one of them decided to actually get the job done. so much that they spent 25 years backlogging and adding more unsolved cases to the pile year after year. how many of them women took their own lives in the meantime waiting for an investigation that never happened and coulda easily gave them some kinda justice? how many of those women turned around & abused their kids cuz even the justice system wasn’t on her side? how many of those women turned around and committed some other crime just to get back at the world that screwed them over in more ways than one? hell how many of those MEN working and living amongst the rest of us plotting they next hit? that city might need to be burned down (not w/the people in it) & started over again.

    oh and how many of those cases involved minority victims? cuz we all know where we rank in priority so let’s be real. i wanna see the stats on these cases.

  • African Woman