Bondi wants funds to analyze untested rape kits

Posted at 2:11 AM, Sep 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 02:11:52-04

"I had actually given up that I would never know who the rapist was,” said Kellie Greene.

There are thousands of women just like her in Florida—women forced to wait.  

"Those times are changing and it's because of people coming forward and saying, this shouldn't be,” said Greene.

Greene is a survivor, raped and beaten in 1994 by a stranger in her own home, but her rape kit sat untested for years.

"I wish that it hadn't have taken three years for the Orlando Police Department to be able to test my rape kit, because in those three years, we could have prevented other people from being raped, other people from being beaten,” she explained.

Her attacker, a career criminal, is now in prison but Florida's Attorney General says thousands more rape kits are collecting dust at local agencies because state labs don't have the money.

"We want to be able to have everything tested,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Now Bondi and other state legislators are pushing for millions in state funding. A $300,000 study will reveal exactly how much it'll take.  She says the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is requesting $35 million this session to tackle the backlog.

"Other states are paying their analysts more than we are so we need to remain competitive. We need to have enough labs and the manpower to do this where we don't have to prioritize anymore,” said Bondi during a media conference at The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

It can cost as much as $800 to process a rape kit. Sheriff Chris Nocco says in Pasco County alone 340 untested kits, 340 victims are still waiting-- one for almost every day of the year.

"You may think you got away with a crime, with us putting this DNA into the system, we're going to be able to come after you,” he said.

Greene says she hopes the push will bring other victims who are still waiting some peace.

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay hosted Bondi's announcement. Crisis Center advocates say DNA can be collected as many as 5 days after a rape.