Illinois Sexual Assault Victims Can Now Track Rape Kits But System Does Not Track Backlog Of 6,000

https://ift.tt/3lIsA7x

CHICAGO (CBS) — Sexual assault victims in Illinois can finally track their rape kits. It is a huge step for survivors trying to get answers in their cases, but there is a catch. The new system won’t apply to the more than 6,000 cases waiting in the state’s backlog.

Laurie Empen is a survivor who has been waiting nearly a year for her rape kit to be processed. She said she is happy for these improvements to the system, but the state and the City of Chicago still have a long way to go.

RELATED: Report Gives Chicago Police ‘Beyond A Failing Grade’ For Poor Clearance Rate Of Sexual Assault Cases | No Justice: How The Chicago Police Department Has Failed To Solve Thousands Of Rape Cases In Last Decade

“I was told that it took 12 to 15 months to get a rape kit processed. It’s not acceptable,” Empen said.

It happened on Oct. 19, 2019 at a bar in Chicago.

“We were enjoying the music, and 40 minutes later I have no memory,” she said.

Trace amounts of a date rape drug showed up later in her system. She woke up naked with several injuries and bruising.

“I then see a man’s jacket at the bottom of my bed, and I am panicked,” she said.

Receipts in the pocket gave her a name. She then contacted every friend she had been with that night and saved the messages.

She spent 5 hours in the hospital and got a rape kit.

“I did more than I was supposed to do,” Empen said.

But a year later, she does not know if that kit was ever processed. As of this summer there were 6,093 cases in the state’s backlog. Empen’s is presumably one of them.

Last month Illinois State Police announced that victims will now be able to track their kits online, joining about 20 other states that already do this, but timing is key.

“It doesn’t work for me,” Empen said. “It started August of 2020.”

“She is so right,” said Carrie Ward, the executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The new system leaves existing victims like Empen out. And while it’s a great step for transparency‚ it does not address the backlog.

“I think it’s where we recognize it is an imperfect process,” said Ward. 

Despite meticulously documenting her case for her Chicago Police Department detective and tracing down the identity of her alleged offender, all that Empen knows is that her case has been suspended.

“You move on,” she said. “That’s what you learn is that you have to weave this horrific accident into the fabric of your life and move on, so I understand why so many victims don’t report it. Why would you bother? Why would you go through that? To be told you don’t matter; it’s really not a crime.”

CPD confirmed Friday that Empen’s case is suspended, pending any new investigatory information.

She said that by telling her story she is hoping to shed light on the flaws that still remain in the system.

Feeds,News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via CBS Chicago https://ift.tt/2FyVrp5

October 9, 2020 at 06:39PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s