AG Bill Schuette Talks Prosecution out of Rape Kits, and His Political Future

AG Schuette talks sex trafficking in Michigan, testing rape kits in Wayne Co. and his political future.

Laura Weber Davis, WDET

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says the county needs more money to prosecute the offenders discovered by the testing of about 11,000 rape kits that went untested in Detroit for many years.

“You can have them all tested and that doesn’t bring justice to any victim at all,” Worthy tells the Michigan Public Radio Network. “You have to investigate them the old-fashioned way, just like you would any cold case, then they have to be prosecuted.”

From MPRN’s Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta:

Worthy says her office has already gotten 40 convictions, and she has about a thousand more cases ready to be investigated. The untested rape kits were found gathering dust in a Detroit Police storage facility seven years ago. Worthy says she’s looking for a combination of local, state, and federal assistance, as well as private fundraising, to finish the work that’s been started. She says the cost will likely run into millions of dollars.

“We’re going to try to bring justice for women who have been violated,” says Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Schuette says the women subjected to the rape kits were violated twice; once by their rapist and once by the system that failed to test the kits. But, Schuette says, a big shift in leadership in Detroit’s City Hall and Police Department helped move the needle on justice for the victims.

“There’s a new culture change, and that’s called leadership,” says Schuette.

Schuette declines to give a clear answer on whether he’s considering a run for governor of Michigan in 2018, though he is widely considered a favorite to run on the Republican ticket by political insiders.

“My number one responsibility is being a strong attorney general,” says Schuette. He says issues surrounding rape kits, sex-trafficking, and the Flint water crisis all top his list of responsibilities right now. “I’m working hard to provide justice for Flint and the families of Flint… you’re going to be a big-shot or no-shot-at-all, and we’re going to provide one system of justice.”

But, Schuette tells Detroit Today host and Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson, with his tongue-in-cheek, he hopes whatever office he may consider in the future will earn a Free Press endorsement. The Free Press has never endorsed Schuette for office.

“I’m determined sooner or later it’s going to happen… I am Michigan’s, and frankly America’s, optimist.”

To hear more of Schuette’s conversation on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.

Laura Weber Davis, WDET

The above photo is of AG Schutte (right) and Congressman Dan Kildee (left). The two men who are widely rumored in political circles to be considering runs for governor in 2018 crossed paths briefly between interview on Detroit Today while at the Mackinac Policy Conference. Schuette is a Republican, Kildee is a Democrat. Schuette jokes they could run together on the “Unity” ticket.