Dart says Robbins rape kits dating back to ’86 sent to Illinois state police
BY CASEY TONER Sun-Times Mediaemail@example.com February 19, 2013 12:16PM
Photo of a portion of the unsubmitted sexual assault kits located in the Robbins Police Department's evidence room. The Sheriff's Office will work with the Robbins Police Department to ensure the timely submission of these kits to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis. | Photo Courtesy, Cook County Sheriff's Office
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:27AM
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said 51 sexual assault kits found in an evidence room at the Robbins Police Department were being sent to Illinois State Police for investigation.
“The victims should know they will have their cases heard, and they will be treated like they should have been treated,” Dart said at a news conference Tuesday night. “My goal is to bring justice to these folks.”
Dart said the untested kits, some dating back to 1986, were found several weeks ago on a shelf in the Robbins Police evidence room. Also found was a barrel of about 55 guns that were never sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace their original ownership.
Because of the village’s lack of funds, sheriff’s police have been assisting Robbins police in recent weeks with patrols and open homicide cases, which led to the discovery of the rape kits and guns, Dart said.
He said there was no acceptable reason why the rape kits weren’t sent for testing.
The rape kit process “is incredibly difficult and traumatic for a woman to go through, and it’s rare someone would go through with it and not want to pursue a criminal case,” Dart said. He said the rape kits found in Robbins were well-preserved.
Robbins Police Cmdr. Christian Daigre said the new police department administration reorganized the evidence room under interim Police Chief Jerome Guinn. Former Police Chief Johnny Holmes resigned in December after he was charged with drunken driving for the second time in three years.
“The previous administration didn’t account for these items as well as they could have,” Daigre said of the rape kits and guns. He said the evidence room had not been maintained as it should have been but, “Going forward, it will absolutely be.”
Leila Ward, a Robbins resident, said she was astounded by the news that the rape kits had never been turned over to state police.
“I’m very angry the citizens didn’t know about it,” Ward said. “Our response needs to be, ‘Who was responsible?’ ”
In 2007, authorities made a similar discovery in Harvey when about 200 untested kits were found in a raid on the city’s police department. Sheriff’s police, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and Illinois State Police conducted that raid to confiscate evidence in many unsolved murders, and follow-up testing of the rape kits led to numerous charges. In 2007, authorities made a similar discovery in Harvey when about 200 untested kits were found in a raid on the city’s police department. Sheriff’s police, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and Illinois State Police conducted that raid to confiscate evidence in many unsolved murders, and follow-up testing of the rape kits led to numerous charges.