FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Rape kits. They send messages to survivors of sexual assault that their cases matter.
It is irreplaceable, indisputable evidence that shows something happened.
It is so big and so important that back in 2017 a law was made to prevent agencies from disposing of them.
Well, a new report from the Maryland Attorney Generals office shows that nearly 270 kits were destroyed by law enforcement agencies over a two year period.
The data was collected by the office as a part of an annual report by the Sexual Assault Kit Policy and Funding committee to create uniform statewide policies regarding the collection, testing and retention of rape and sexual assault cases.
The report showed the Frederick Police department disposed of 84 kits and Frederick Sheriff’s office disposed of 26.
There’s always a reason as to why things happen and Frederick police say they gave out the wrong number to the attorney general’s office.
“We counted kits that were destroyed much further back than the two year period they were looking for from cases as far back as 1990,” said Lt. Kirk Henneberry of the Frederick Police Criminal Investigation Division.
By law, law enforcement must hold onto rape kits for at least 20 years, and if they are destroyed before that, there’s usually a reason.
The destruction of rape kits is banned except for in cases where all suspects have died or have been convicted and served their full term in prison
“We definitely want to go the extra mile for any victim whether it’s sexual assault or any other crime,” said Lt. Henneberry. “The detectives do that day in and day out, so you know this story does kind of look bad on its face, but in reality, FPD is definitely trying to bring justice to the victims of any crime.”
Frederick police say around 11 kits were destroyed during that 2 year period. All kits from 2016 to present-day are still intact.