After a woman reports a rape and undergoes a physical examination, the evidence collected is called a "rape kit." These kits of evidence are stored and eventually tested for DNA evidence that could assist law enforcement in finding the perpetrator. Over the past several years the Justice Department has encouraged law enforcement agencies across the country to test and process these kits.

In a recent Colorado investigation, a news station found that many rape kits had not been tested. In Denver, 44 percent of kits collected since 2008 have not been tested. In Fort Collins there are even more: 72 percent of kits since 2007 have not yet been tested.

Many law enforcement agencies did not test rape kits in cases of date rape or rape where the offender was known to the victim because they were able to prosecute the case without that evidence.

However, some are beginning to advocate testing all kits so the evidence can be catalogued in a database. This could help link known offenders to other cases and could lead to new charges against some people who may be connected to multiple offenses.

In response, Colorado may consider legislation next year that would divert more funding to testing and processing rape kits. A federal grant in 2004 allowed 5,000 kits to be tested, which resulted in more than 80 prosecutions.

If you are facing criminal charges or accusations, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. They can help you gather evidence and build a defense, working toward the best possible outcome in your case.

Source: Reporter Herald, "Evidence from alleged rapes must be processed," Dec. 3, 2012

To learn more about criminal charges in Colorado, please visit our website.