Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Worthy was to discuss rape-kit project on 'Rock Center'

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy was scheduled to appear on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams at 10 p.m. Thursday to discuss the 11,3013 untested rape kits discovered in August of 2009 during a tour of  a Detroit Police Department property storage warehouse.

But Worthy's spokeswoman, Maria Miller, informed the media about noon Thursday that the segment has been postponed. (Perhaps Michigan's right-to-work controversy bumped it.)

The show would also focus on the work of the Detroit Sexual Assault Kit Action Research Project to address the problem and create a national protocol for other jurisdictions that encounter this issue across the nation.

Rape kit evidence that was collected following a rape that occurred in August 1998 was discovered during the tour.  When the evidence was tested there was a DNA match with the defendant, Eric Taliaferro, who was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He pleaded no contest to the charges Nov. 26 before Wayne Circuit Judge Ulysses Boykin. He was sentenced Tuesday to 15 to 30 years in prison. 

"Fourteen years ago the victim in this case was sexually assaulted and, because her untested rape kit sat ignored in an evidence warehouse, Mr. Taliaferro walked free,” Worthy said. “Now Taliaferro has lost his freedom.  It is fitting that he will serve just over a year in prison for each year that the rape sat on the shelf, "said Prosecutor Worthy.

The research project is funded by a grant awarded by the National Institute of Justice In April of 2011.  The collaborative partners on the grant are: the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, the PD , the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, Michigan State University, the Michigan Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Treatment Board, the Wayne County Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners, YWCA Interim House, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Joyful Heart Foundation.


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