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FAQ City: Why Did CMPD Destroy 1,000 Sexual Assault Kits?

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Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE
A staff member at Charlotte's Safe Alliance holds an sample sexual assault kit. A 2016 investigation by The Charlotte Observer found CMPD destroyed more than 1,000 kits before they were tested for DNA.

On this week's FAQ City, listener Margaret Peeples has lingering questions about a 2016 report in The Charlotte Observer that found between 2000 and 2016, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department had destroyed more than 1,000 sexual assault kits.

The kits, roughly the size of a shoebox, contain clothing, DNA swabs, and other biological evidence that can be used in court, should the victim decide to press charges.

Peeples, a 68-year-old grandmother, says she's never experienced sexual assault herself, but growing up she did experience trauma and has lots of empathy for people who've gone through traumatic experiences.

"Why was this done? What is the reasoning here?" she asks.

Inspired by the work of our fellow WFAE podcast She Says, we set out in search of an answer, and we learn more about the process some victims go through to get a sexual assault kit in the first place, courtesy of the staff of Charlotte's local rape crisis center.

Special thanks to Cori Goldstein of Safe Alliance for speaking with us. If you're in need of help, Safe Alliance has lots of resources for sexual assault survivors in the area, including a 24-hour anonymous hotline: 704-375-9900.

If you'd like to learn more about this subject, check out She Says, WFAE's new investigative podcast about one sexual assault survivor's search for justice and healing. Listen to the first episode on your favorite podcast app.

Have more questions about this or another Charlotte topic? Leave them in the box below, and we may search for an answer on an upcoming episode of FAQ City.

In the meantime, make sure to subscribe and leave us a rating and review us on your favorite podcast app, including Apple Podcasts, NPR One, and Google Play.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. He work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal