The Cook County Sheriff's office said it has unearthed 51 completely unprocessed rape kits — some dating back to the mid-'80s — at a south suburban Chicago police department.
The kits, which date between 1986 and 2011, were never sent in for analysis, said Dart. According to CBS Chicago, Robbins police say the kits were left untested because the women the kits were taken for either recanted or refused to press charges.
According to ABC Chicago, it's not uncommon for police to not submit a rape kit in cases where a victim recants, though a state law requires all specimens gathered after 2010 to be tested "regardless of circumstance." ABC reports every single one of the kits will be sent to Illinois State Police for investigation and the alleged rape victims will be contacted as well.
Dart said the kits were discovered because his office had been assisting the police department in the cash-strapped suburban village, but acknowledged there was no excuse for the oversight.
Robbins Police Cmdr. Christian Daigre pointed the finger at the village's former top cop Johnny Holmes for not overseeing the evidence better; Holmes left the force several weeks back after being charged with his second DUI in less than three years.
The shocking discovery has sparked anger among residents, with one woman telling the Sun-Times, “I’m very angry the citizens didn’t know about it. Our response needs to be, ‘Who was responsible?'"
The south suburbs have seen cases like this before: Last year, a 22-year-old rape victim filed a federal class action lawsuit against suburban Harvey, claiming that the city failed to process 200 rape kits, thereby stalling cases and losing crucial evidence.