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New Charges for Old Allegations: Texas Provides Funding for Backlog of Sexual Assault Kits

Rape kit

Over the last few years, new legislation has been enacted to clear the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the State of Texas.  2019 House Bill 8, aka the Lavinia Masters Act, stipulates that DNA evidence collected by medical facilities must be turned over to law enforcement within 7 days and that those sexual assault kits must be tested by a crime lab within 90 days of receiving a request.  Last year, $3.3 million was awarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety via the Department of Justice sponsored Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction Program to aid in funding the testing of backlogged sexual assault kits.  An additional $2.3 million was approved by the Dallas City Council for the purchase of kits and processing services for the Dallas Police Department, which had a backlog of 1,900 untested kits dating back to 1995.

The new legislation and increased funding, coupled with the elimination of statutes of limitation in cases of sexual assault and rape, illustrate Texas’ intent to prosecute these types of cases that have been languishing in municipal evidence storage.  We are already seeing persons implicated in sexual assaults years (even decades) ago being contacted by law enforcement officers for questioning.  For some who were previously questioned, this is a surprise resurfacing of allegations that they believed were resolved long ago.  For many, this is the first time they are learning that such accusations exist.  

In either situation, persons contacted by law enforcement should exercise their right to remain silent and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  Law enforcement officers rely on interviews to corroborate victim statements and confirm biases, so it is important not to meet with police or discuss allegations without legal counsel.   Contact our attorneys at the Law Office of Patrick J McLain have decades of experience dealing with law enforcement and fighting false allegations.  Let us protect you and fight for your future.

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