Gov. Fallin Sets Up Task Force To Look Into Untested Rape Kits
OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order forming a task force to look into untested rape kits around the state.
Last year alone, there were an estimated 1,900 rapes and attempted rapes in Oklahoma.
Police departments collected evidence in so-called rape kits, but a lot of those rape kits are sitting on shelves somewhere collecting dust, and no one knows exactly how many there are.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa police have labs to test their own rape kits, but they’re the only departments in the state that do.
All other departments send rape kits to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, but that’s costly, so often the evidence is collected and never tested.
The goal of the task force is to find out how many untested kits there are out there.
“It’s just hard to know, frankly,” said Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. “But again maybe that’s what the strength of this executive order is. Maybe we’ll find out finally what the true numbers are.”
The executive order is the brain-child of Danielle Tudor. Tudor lives in Oklahoma now, but in November 1979, she was raped by the "Jogger Rapist;" a serial rapist in Portland, Oregon, who police think may have targeted as many as 100 women and girls.
Tudor is also pushing for passage of Senate Bill 208, which would give victims notification of when their attacker is in court and every move of the prosecution. The bill passed unanimously in the state Senate, but hasn’t been heard in the House.
“I just need one of them. Just one to stand up and get this done,” Tudor said. “Because we still can.”
The governor’s task force will be made up of law enforcement and victims’ advocates. They hope to know how many untested rape kits there are out there by the end of the year.