on floor HB369SPRINGFIELD – Three years after Rosa Pickett was raped in 1977 she learned that her rape kit was lost. For a woman who had recently discovered the name of her attacker, this was an unimaginable shock.

During this time and for years later, the State Police had not been testing sex crime cases effectively and there was a growing backlog of rape kits. Rosa’s kit was lost in the mix of this neglect. She and others whose kits went untested for a decade or more were then faced with the realization that the statute of limitations had run out and their attackers would not face justice.

In 2010, a law was passed to ensure that these untested kits be examined, and in 2013 the state completed the testing of 4,000 previously untested rape kits, many of which date back to before 2004.

State Senator Michael Noland (D- Elgin) passed legislation today to bring justice to victims of the backlog.  The proposal would have the current 10-year statute of limitations begin at the time the kit is actually tested rather than at the time the incident is reported, thus allowing those affected by the backlog to still receive due process.

“Rosa is just one case of justice being denied to victims of sexual assault,” said Noland. “Evidence existed, evidence was gathered and yet evidence went untested. This measure is an effort to ensure sexual predators no longer escape the justice they deserve nor the victims lose their right for the closure they deserve.”

Noland has worked closely with Test 400 K, a group dedicated to eliminating the backlog.  “Because of the leadership of lead bill sponsors, Senator Noland and Rep. Conroy, victims impacted by the rape kit backlog will become one step closer to getting the justice they deserve.  We are hopeful for the Governor’s support, and know that our communities will be safer for it,” said TEST400K Co-Founder Julie Smolyansky. 

Senator Noland introduced a similar measure last year but it did not pass the House before the General Assembly adjourned for the year. Last month, his new version passed the House and today the Senate also passed it by a vote of 55-1-1.
It now advances to the governor’s desk.

Category: Newsflash
 

Contact Info

District Office:
The Professional Building
164 Division Street, Suite #102
Elgin, IL 60120
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847-214-8867 facsimile

Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone
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