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An Iowa woman who says she was gang-raped has been waiting months for the state to test her rape kit

Nearly eight months ago, an 18-year-old woman told Ankeny police she was attacked by five men who restrained her as each one assaulted her sexually.

The trial of one the woman’s alleged attackers is scheduled to begin in less than five weeks, but key evidence still remains at the state’s crime laboratory, waiting to be analyzed.

Typically, it takes four-to-six weeks to process evidence included in a sexual assault kit, a crime lab administrator said.

“I’m worried that without the rape kit, he’ll be let go,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. The Des Moines Register typically does not identify sexual assault victims without their consent.

While Polk County's top prosecutor said he's confident results from DNA testing will be available by late June, a victim's advocate said the long wait time highlights the frustration felt by people who have been sexually abused.

...Until evidence from sexual assault kits is processed in a more timely manner "we will continue to have situations like this case where survivors become discouraged and wonder if the system will work in time," wrote Kerri True-Funk, associate director at the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, in an email to the Register.

...Waiting for evidence to be handled and investigations completed “can be a long and traumatizing process” for people who have reported being sexually assaulted, True-Funk wrote. The delays can “discourage some survivors from reporting in the first place, and (in the) long term, it can make them less likely to cooperate with investigators.”

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