About 100 'Serial Rapists' ID'd So Far in Analysis of Thousands of Abandoned Detroit Rape Kits

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Mariska Hargitay joins Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy at a news conference announcing new legislation that would set strict deadlines on testing sexual assault kits.

Actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays a sex crimes detective on TV, joined Wayne Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy at a news conference announcing legislation that would require timely processing of rape kits. (Photo: Getty Images)
Actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays a sex crimes detective on TV, joined Wayne Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy at a news conference announcing legislation that would require timely processing of rape kits. (Photo: Getty Images)

About 100 “serial rapists” have been identified since Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy began pushing state officials to begin processing the 11,000 rape kits found abandoned in Detroit police warehouse in 2009.

About 1,600 kits, some of them dating back to the 1970s, have been processed so far, Worthy said at a press conference Tuesday with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Mariska Hargitay. Together, they announced proposed legislation that would set deadlines and other guidelines for processing rape kits and prevent such backlogs in the future.

"These rape kits in Michigan are over 25 years old," Worthy told reporters. "Want to make sure we deal with the victims mercifully, honestly and genuinely."

Hargitay, who portrays Sgt. Olivia Benson on the weekly NBC television program that deals with sex crimes, said the sheer number of rape kits in Detroit and across the country that go unprocessed is “mind-blowing to me.”

About 400,000 rape kits go untested nationally, the report said. Hargitaye said she assumed they were being routinely tested, as they are in her television show.

"My head exploded,” she said. “We have the means to do it and DNA equals justice."

The more than 100 serieal rapists and 10 convicted rapids  identified so far in DNA analysis from the rape kits have moved on from Michigan to commit similar crimes in 23 states, Worthy said.

Fourteen convictions have resulted from what is being called the "Detroit Rape Kit Project."

Those convictions include DeShawn Starks, 23, who feigned stomach pains as he approached a woman returning to her Detroit Home, then robbed the woman at gunpoint and drove her to a wooded area, where he raped her.

The victim’s rape kit remained untested for a decade before Worthy put pressure on the Michigan State Police to process the kits. The findings linked Stark’s DNA to the case and another rape in 2003 in which the kit also remained in storage fofr 10 years.

In November 2013, Stark raped two more women as they were walking home from a family gathering.

He was convicted and sentenced 45-90 years in prison.

In real life, Hargitay is a vocal advocate for the sex-crime victims. Her nonprofit group Joyful Heart Foundation works with victims of sex crimes, domestic violence and child abuse.
jerseytomato March 21, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Sending my support from the New Jersey Shore! 11,000 Rape Kits stored in a warehouse? Whomever 'stored' this evidence away, enabled rapists to go free, and perhaps continue raping more innocent women. All police officers and police detectives who tossed evidence into storage should be fired, and lose their pensions. They violated the rights of the women who were raped!!!
steve March 21, 2014 at 09:16 PM
I love this! In California they are legislating mandatory DNA testing upon arrest for any felony - convicted or not. What good will it do when they just store the untested samples for years and years until they destroy them to make space?
Julie the Jarhead March 22, 2014 at 07:10 AM
This is great news, and Ms Hargitay and Ms Worthy are to be commended for their tenacity. There are sexual predators and pedophiles walking around every urban and suburban area. They walk by our schools, and frequent other places where children are known to congregate. They think time will erase their horrible deeds. Well, there are relentless advocates such as Ms Hargitay and Ms Worthy who will not let these creeps get away with the evil they have done.
John March 22, 2014 at 11:14 PM
Civil service loads more concerned with their pensions then doing their job. When will it end ?
Patrick Carter April 07, 2014 at 09:34 AM
The US government should take over the city of Detroit. The Army corps of engineers should demolish the 10,000 abandoned buildings there. Nobody seems to give a shit about Detroit, except maybe Kid Rock.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »