Ingham County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)
In 2009, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy's office discovered 11,341 untested sexual assault kits in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility. Following Prosecutor Worthy’s astonishing discovery, prosecutors and law enforcement professionals learned that the problem of untested kits was not unique to Wayne County. A state-wide inventory was conducted. As part of that inventory, Ingham County identified 123 untested kits. These inventoried kits were submitted to the laboratory and the initial testing is now complete.
The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, in partnership with the Michigan Department of State Police, and the Michigan Attorney General established a local Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) project. The SAKI team includes a Special Assistant Attorney General, Special Investigator and Victim Advocate.
The purpose of the Ingham County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative project is to end the backlog of untested kits, identify perpetrators through DNA technology, and help provide resolution to survivors of sexual assault. To accomplish this, our team of specially-trained professionals will review each case and test result to determine if the case can be prosecuted. Through this project, we will work to provide justice, closure, and protection to sexual assault survivors in our community.
We recognize that each kit is more than physical and forensic evidence of a crime. Each kit represents the sexual assault and resultant trauma experienced by a rape survivor in our community.
Why did we have untested kits?
There are many reasons why some kits were not tested in the past. For example, in some cases, the suspect confessed, pled guilty, or was convicted at trial without need for the kit to be tested. New legislation now requires every kit provided to law enforcement to be tested and law enforcement recognizes that testing every kit is a best practice. Law enforcement's preservation of the kits provided the opportunity to review and re-investigate each of these cases and, where appropriate, pursue prosecution.
Will we continue to have untested kits?
In 2015, the Michigan Legislature enacted the "Sexual Assault Kit Evidence Submission Act (Act)." This law requires that law enforcement submit all sexual assault forensic evidence kits for testing within 14 days of receipt. The Act also requires that the crime lab test the evidence in the kit within 90 days of receipt from a law enforcement agency.
It is important to note that sexual assault victims have the choice whether to release their kit to law enforcement. If they do not want to release their kit to law enforcement for testing, the healthcare provider that collected the evidence must store the kit for no less than one year to allow the victim time to consider whether s/he wants the kit submitted for testing.
How do I know if my case is part of this project?
If you were the victim of a sexual assault that was reported between 1999 and 2015 in Ingham County, and you participated in a clinical sexual assault examination where evidence was collected during a physical examination, your case may be a part of this project.
If you have any questions you may contact:
- Patricia T. Ceresa, Special Assistant Attorney General, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, (517) 483-6108, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Detective Annie Harrison, Special Investigator, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, (517) 676-8256, email@example.com
- Sara Tunney, Victim Advocate, EVE, Inc. (517) 676-8285, firstname.lastname@example.org
What can I expect if my case is part of this project?
The SAKI team will keep you informed during the process. You will receive access to services to support you. You will be consulted about whether your case can be prosecuted and what your options are for being involved. We recognize that re-opening a case can be upsetting for a survivor and may trigger memories of the traumatic incident. We promise to respect and support your decision about whether to participate in prosecution.
Resources and Links
- Ingham County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Pamphlet
- Sexual Assault Kit Submission Act of 2015
- Sexual Assault Kit Testing in Michigan – What Victims Need to Know
- EVE 24 hour Crisis Line 517-372-5572
- Michigan victims of sexual violence are encouraged to call the National Sexual Assault Hotline toll-free, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). All calls are confidential, and will be answered by a local counseling center affiliated with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
- Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
This project is supported by the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative #2015-AK-BX-K015, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and administered by the Michigan State Police (MSP). Points of view or opinions contained within this document do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the DOJ or MSP.