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NYPD Tries To Stop Rape Kits From Falling Through Cracks, Again

The NYPD has assigned Special Victims Division detectives in every borough to contact all hospitals about the “rape kits” they have in storage — to make sure that all evidence in active cases is collected and examined.

The move comes after possibly hundreds of kits were found gathering dust at some of the 60 hospitals that conduct rape-victim exams, a snafu The Post exclusively revealed last week.

The city’s hospitals alerted the NYPD to an unknown number of kits that were supposed to be picked up by detectives and taken to the lab — but never were.

The neglected and mothballed evidence meant that the cases were never properly investigated, victims did not get justice, and perhaps scores of rapists remained on the loose.

“The rape kit plays a really important role in these investigations,” said Jane Manning, director of the Women’s Equal Justice Project and a former sex crimes prosecutor. “Sometimes, that’s how you connect cases and identify a serial rapist you didn’t know was a serial rapist.”

The new NYPD directive said: “Moving forward, the NYPD Special Victims Division has put in place the following procedure to ensure any Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kits (SOECKs) with permission to be released to law enforcement, are in fact, released in a timely manner.”

Each borough “will have an SVD detective who is assigned who is the designated . . . liaison for that borough,” continued the directive, which was included in an Oct. 5 memo to all hospitals, obtained by The Post.

When quizzed by The Post, the NYPD refused to say how many neglected kits in active cases it has found so far.

The department in a statement blamed the problem on the lack of a “statewide tracking system” for the rape kits, “which leaves the possibility for the kits to be left behind in hospital storage and not be tested in a timely manner.”

A law enacted in December 2022 requires rape kits previously stored in hospitals — because victims decided not to file criminal reports — be moved to a centralized location in Albany, where they’ll be warehoused for 20 years and can be retrieved if victims change their minds on pressing charges.

They were shocked to discover that along with the inactive evidence kits, scores of “released” rape kits where cooperating victims wanted NYPD involvement were also gathering dust.

A rape kit is collected at an emergency room where a victim seeks treatment and hospital staff conduct a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam.

Bodily fluids including semen and saliva are collected with swabs, and substances like hair and clothing fibers may also be collected.

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