Lawsuit filed against City of Houston over lack of rape kit testing

A woman who says her rape kit went untested for years has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Houston.

HOUSTON - A woman who says her rape kit went untested for years has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Houston.

The scandal of the untested rape kits has been an ugly black eye for Houston.

DeJenay Beckwith and her attorneys claim the failed testing ultimately allowed rapists to run free.

“They were able to sexually assault women and children due to fact the City failed to simply process the evidence they had,” said Randall Kallinen, her attorney.

David Lee Cooper's DNA had been on file since 1991. Beckwith was raped in 2011, but her evidence was not processed for five years.

In the interim years, other victims were also attacked. Attorneys allege Cooper could have been stopped five different years prior to Beckwith's rape, but the kits went untested.

“The Houston Police Department failed the women of Houston, they failed to protect them,” said Shelby Stewart, a retired HPD sergeant. “A decision was made at the executive level not to test these rape kits. It was a monetary decision that shouldn’t have been made.”

The plaintiff's attorneys are also calling it gender discrimination against women. 

The suit names not only the City, current mayor and police chief, but also nearly a dozen of their predecessors in hopes of institutional change and money.

 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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