Gov. Perry signs rape kit bill into law

Testing of rape kit data sometimes takes months, even years. CBS

On Friday, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill requiring all Texas police departments to submit rape kit evidence to crime labs within 30 days of being collected.

The bill, which goes into effect September 1, aims to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits piling up in storage across the state. The rape kit backlog not only delays justice for rape victims, but also reduces the likelihood that rapists will be brought to justice at all. The bill

Lynn Blanco, President and CEO of The Rape Crisis Center in San Antonio said she is "thrilled" about the new bill.

In San Antonio, three new victims report sexual assault every day.

"Victims really will feel justice is being done," Blanco told CBS News. "If there is one cold case that is solved because of this, then it's all worth it."

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis said she wrote the bill after an Emmy Award winning CBS News investigation uncovered over 5,000 untested rape kits in the San Antonio Police Department.

A 2009 CBS News investigation by Armen Keteyian and Laura Strickler revealed 20,000 rape kits had gone untested nationwide - including more than 5,000 in San Antonio.

In response to the CBS story in 2009, the San Antonio Police Department announced it would test all rape kits where the suspect was unknown.

"We don't want to let any case where someone is sexually assaulted fall through the cracks," said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus in 2009.

With the signing of the new legislation, Texas becomes the second state in the country to test all rape kits. Illinois was the first.

  • Emily Rand

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