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Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 7:18pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The City of El Paso is setting the precedent on how rape cases are processed. The rest of the Lone Star State is looking at some serious backlog issues when processing rape kits. A new senate bill that will go into effect in September will help process these kits and will also help authorities find serial rapists.
Senate Bill 1636 will funnel $11-million into the Department of Public Safety which should send all of the backlogged rape kits into labs and help authorities find serial rapists that may be tied to several parts of Texas. The City of El Paso’s police department said they do not have the same backlog that the rest of the state does.
On September 1st, the estimated 20,000 rape kits in Texas that have been collecting dusts will be tested.
Advocates like Deb Benedict of the Stars Rape Crisis Center in El Paso say this is a huge step in the right direction. "The issue is making sure that the evidence is analyzed because it allows victims to have some piece of mind,” Benedict told us.
The El Paso Police Department reports --- zero backlogged rape kits.
In the department of public safety's El Paso region which contains about 30 counties, including El Paso, there are 54 cases; compared more than 6,600 in the Houston region and more than 3,000 in Austin.
The District Attorney's office explained they are pleased with how their kits are processed and can be rushed for evidentiary purposes.
Benedict says Senate Bill 1636 may also help authorities find repeat offenders.
"One of the concerns of Senator Davis is to make sure that Texas is able to develop a DNA database," Benedict said. This may help link a suspect from El Paso to another part of the state, or even the nation.
STARS Rape Crisis Center –
WEB - http://www.stars-elpaso.org
Local hotline – 915-779-1800
National hotline – 800-656-HOPE