Destroyed: How CNN Exposed the Destruction of Rape Kits and Mishandling of Rape Cases

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45 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 6, 2021

Ashley Fantz
Ashley Fantz
CNN Investigations

CNN investigative reporter Ashley Fantz takes you inside a years-long investigation into Destroyed, an investigative series that has earned numerous accolades, including a tie for first place in the prestigious Editor and Publisher 2019 awards, and an Emmy nomination for outstanding art direction and graphics. The series reveals how and why law enforcement agencies nationwide mishandle reported rapes and why many departments destroyed rape kits while unsolved cases could have been prosecuted. Prosecutors, Ms. Fantz discovered, were also wrongly authorizing the destruction of rape kits before the statute of limitations expired when most of those kits were never submitted to a lab for testing.

CNN unearthed a crisis more fundamental than the backlog: the evidence is gone. It cannot be used to lock up a sex offender or set free the wrongfully convicted. In this session, attendees will learn critical lessons about how to do better: How to avoid biases that might harm investigations; why maintaining rape kits for the length of the statute of limitations is critical to solving your case and getting it to a successful prosecution; why a checks and balances system in law enforcement is essential to quality work, and why the latest trauma-informed training is not a luxury, but a necessity. Attendees will also walk away with some tips on how to interact with the media.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify structural problems in law enforcement agencies that allow destruction to occur, i.e., detectives allowed to authorize destruction of rape kits without supervisory or prosecutorial approval.
  • Discuss problems detectives and others shared about their lack of training or awareness of trauma-informed protocols.
  • Identify and discuss biases in policing that CNN repeatedly saw in case files that led to wrongful kit destruction.
  • Discover strategies to interact with a reporter and learn what materials to have ready before a reporter ever comes knocking.

With a paid registration or subscription, you are free to personally listen to this webinar, as many times as you wish. You may also excerpt or cite the material following accepted conventions. However, you may not allow other individuals to listen to this webinar without their own registration or subscription.

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