Committee allocates $1M for 2200 rape kits to be tested - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Committee allocates $1M for 2200 rape kits to be tested

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A million dollars begins the process to fund 2,200 untested rape kits. A Memphis City Council committee passed a resolution Tuesday to move the funds over mid-year.

The backlog is still expected to cost more than $6 million.

MORE: Gwyn: MPD missed opportunity to clear backlogged rape kits
MORE: New consultant hired to investigate rape kit backlog
MORE: Wharton: Could take 5 years to process 12K rape kits

During Tuesday's council budget committee, council members went back and forth who's to blame for not funding the over 12,000 unsolved and backlogged rape kits.

"A lot of these kits have been waiting too long," said Councilman Shea Flinn. "We just need to move forward we'll have the rest of our lives to point fingers and hold people accountable, but right now they only thing that matters is fixing it."

But the "it", is a massive undertaking. There are at least 12,000 untested rape kits dating back to the 1980s.

The allocated $1 million will allow about 2,200 kits to be tested.

"That's just to get started," said Mayor A C Wharton. "We'll be working with the legislation, State of Tennessee, philanthropic organizations we're going to get the money somehow to get it done. It's a priority."

Mayor Wharton says it will take years to get caught up on the backlog of rape kits and that's why it was so important to try to find some funding.

"If there are certain areas of the budget we've under spent and there are other areas we didn't have enough we have to get permission from the council to transfer those funds and that's precisely what we did this morning," the mayor said.

Some council members question why only the city was footing the bill and not the state, but others like Councilman Flinn says to allow thousands of rape kits to sit untested is un excusable.

"This has been a failure of your state government, city government," he said. "The list can go on forever and beyond that we just have to fix the problem."

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