In 1985, 13-year-old Lavinia Masters went to sleep in her bedroom, which should be the safest place on Earth for children. But a few hours later, she was woken up by an outlaw who sexually assaulted her and put a knife to her throat. She went to the hospital. DNA evidence was taken from her. She did everything she was supposed to do. But that evidence sat, untested, on a dusty crime lab shelf for 20 years while the perpetrator ran loose somewhere in Texas. When the kit was finally tested, police discovered that Kevin Turner had committed this crime. Justice could not occur for Lavinia because the statute of limitations had run.
Mr. Speaker, Lavinia is not alone. There are 400,000 untested rape kits with DNA evidence in the United States. That's why I have introduced, along with Congresswoman Maloney of New York, the SAFER Act. And we can pass it today by unanimous consent. This is a bipartisan piece of legislation. New Yorker, Texan, Democrat, and Republicans, speaking different languages, it doesn't get much more bipartisan than that. This act would allow funds to be used to test untested sexual assault kits for DNA evidence so justice can be done for victims.
And that's just the way it is.