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Unanalyzed Rape Kits Causes Major Controversy

Last week, a public hearing of the Senate Public Safety Commision brought to light that there are more than two thousand “rape kits” of alleged sexual assaults that have not been processed. This number is due to the accumulation of unanalyzed DNA material from 2006 until 2018 in the vaults of the Bureau of Forensic Sciences (NCF acronyms in Spanish). The processing of the genetic evidence could help to solve the legal complaints of victims. However, comments made by the NFC such as,  “The lack of analysis of the samples of aggression cases is not a new issue, nor only of Puerto Rico,” puts to questioning just how seriously these cases are being taken when dismissed like this.

“Rape Kit” is the term used for the set of evidence that can prove or disprove a sexual assault, as well as instructions and materials for doing this. The administrator of the “Banco de Datos de ADN de Puerto Rico,” Mariel Candelario, attributed this backlog (accumulation of rape kits) to lack of employees, resources, and time, wrote Primera Hora. However, the administrator also said that, for them, the backlog of rape kits does not mean that the cases have not been solved by an agent or a prosecutor, according to Primera Hora. This means that backlog can be anything that is not analyzed, be it from a solved or unsolved case, but has not gone through the proper analysis or filing to make the process more efficient and thus cause a “clog” of cases.

Senator Henry Neumann, head of the Public Security Commission, said that for the first week of October he will be visiting the NCF to see the vaults. In a statement with Metro, he said that there are victims who need these cases to be seen and that if there has been an accumulation since 2006 “we have people roaming in our streets of Puerto Rico that, in a given moment, committed a rape crime and that could still be committing them because they have not faced justice.” The senator also expanded with Metro that these cases may also have exculpatory info without being processed.

This would not be the first time this year the NCF has been in the media due to their current critical operational crisis. The Bureau is guilty of maintaining cadavers in its facilities’ inventory, as well as in containers on the premises of the agency, some of which vary from unidentified to unclaimed by families.

 

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I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Literature with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. ?
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