Charlotte, NC - A new grant could bring justice for victims of sexual assault.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department just found out they're getting a $550,000 federal grant to test 885 rape kits.
The department tells us they use the money they already have to do as much testing as possible and cases such as those involving a sexual assault by a stranger take top priority.
An investigator says the majority of the untested rape kits are for cases where the victim decided not to prosecute, it turned out there was no crime, or there was a known offender, such as a domestic violence case. But the grant requires testing all the department's kits because they may help solve an open case in another jurisdiction.
Lt. Melanie Peacock said, “It’s always a battle that we’re having to deal with, and I don’t know where the money would have come from if it weren’t for a grant like this.”
Investigators classify 350 of the 885 cases as "open," meaning either they didn't get all the way through the testing process or they weren’t tested for another reason.
Lt. Peacock said, “Some kits were never submitted for testing over the years. I can’t explain why. We didn’t have very efficient mechanisms in place with property. It was a paper system. So as you know paper is certainly far less efficient than our current computerized system.”
Safe Alliance, an organization in Mecklenburg County that helps victims of sexual assault, wrote a letter of support for CMPD during the grant application process. Cori Goldstein, Safe Alliance’s Director of the Sexual Trauma Resource Center, said, “I think that it is challenging knowing that your perpetrator is still on the streets and has not received any justice for what they did.”