Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans announced today that although the County is managing its financial rebound, he has identified $1 million to dedicate to Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy’s office to help investigate backlogged rape kits.
The funds, pending the approval of the Wayne County Commission, will be allocated to the prosecutor’s 2015-2016 budget and will be used to support the Sexual Assault Kit Task Force. The task force is solely responsible for investigating and prosecuting offenders identified through the tested rape kits.
“Finding these resources for the prosecutor was an important step in helping the victims of these assaults receive the justice they deserve,” said County Executive Evans. “The investigative phase of this process is crucial in ensuring that the perpetrators who committed these crimes are off the streets and not further terrorizing our communities. More than 1,600 of these cases are currently awaiting investigation. We can’t afford to sit by and watch this injustice continue.”
In addition to the $1 million allocation, Executive Evans has also accommodated a need for office space to house investigators, prosecutors and other task force members by providing approximately 5,000 square feet of secure space in the Guardian Building.
“CEO Warren Evans has been instrumental in committing resources to this cause,” said Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy. “He understands that prosecuting and convicting these criminals enhances the safety of citizens all over Wayne County. The $1 million dollars from Wayne County and the use of office space in the Guardian Building shows, in a very tangible and significant way, that the victims whose rape kits were abandoned, do matter. Now that a majority of the kits have been tested, it is paramount that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office maintain its dedication to investigation and prosecution of these cases.”
According to the Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force September report, more than 11,000 rape kits were found in 2009 and of those approximately 10,000 of them have been tested. Of those tested, 549 suspected serial sexual offenders have been identified. The resources provided by Executive Evans will help increase the number of cases actively being investigated, which is now reported at 149.
The proposed $1 million identified for this cause was assigned from the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund resources transferred to the County from the Wayne County Treasurer.
The press conference held in the Guardian Building was attended by members of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Sexual Assault Kit Task Force, members of the Evans Administration and First Ladies from churches located in Wayne County.