Why Were ‘Rape Kits’ Not Tested?

Ohio legislators are considering a bill that would repeal the state’s 20-year statute of limitations on prosecutions for rape. That probably is a good idea – if only because of inexcusable foot-dragging in some law enforcement agencies.

Early in his term as attorney general, Mike DeWine mandated more efficiency at the state’s crime lab. He asked law enforcement agencies to check for old “rape kits” and submit them for testing. Thousands poured in, most from large cities. To our knowledge, East Ohio law enforcement agencies had been having evidence in sexual assaults tested expeditiously all along.

Some of the rape kits now being tested are 10-20 years old. Unless the statute of limitations is extended, some rapists may remain free, even if evidence to prosecute them is revealed.

Lawmakers should keep that from happening. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials who failed to have rape kits tested have some answering to do.