Poor Funding at Texas Crime Labs Results in Pain and Purgatory for Rape Victims

Jul 9, 2017

Credit Sgt. Rebecca Linder / Wikimedia Commons

Last December an Amarillo woman claims she was raped in Canyon, Texas, while working as an Uber driver. Eight months later, she’s still waiting for justice. After the incident, it didn’t take long for the Randall County District Attorney’s office to present their evidence to a grand jury. But the jury decided to hold off on making a decision until the results of the victim’s rape kit came in.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the rape kit finally came back from the lab—two weeks ago.

In the meantime, the victim was forced to sit with her pain for eight months while her accused rapist walked free—and all because of a massive backlog of rape kits in the state's DPS crime lab. The backlog on rape kits has existed for years, and Texas has struggled to get on top of it. But the main reason for the delay is that the crime lab isn’t just responsible for analyzing rape kits; they must also analyze evidence in other brutal crimes like murder and manslaughter.

The Texas Legislature recently appropriated a little over four million dollars to tackle the problem. And Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged a crowdfunding project to ease the backlog.

But experts say it’s not enough to fix the problem. Meanwhile, sexual assault victims across the state will continue to wait for justice.