12-year-old Madison Wertz reaches 5,000 Signatures with Her Petition

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced on Monday that 100,000 people have signed their names to a nationwide Change.org petition calling for all states to fund the testing of their backlogged rape kits.

 DePasquale launched the online petition — which also calls for states to upload all usable DNA into the federal database, known as CODIS, to help identify serial offenders — six months ago.
Helping him in his effort 11-year-old Madison Wertz of Williamsport.

Madison collected signatures on a petition calling for Pennsylvania to create a sustainable funding stream to test rape kits. In 10 months, she had collected 750 signatures

“Her perseverance shows that anyone, regardless of age, can make a difference on issues that really matter.” said DePasquale in a prepared release.    He added  “Madison also continues to gather signatures for our nationwide petition — and she continues to be an inspiration to many, including me.

In regards to those who signed the petition the Auditor General noted “That’s 100,000 people who had the courage to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” DePasquale said. “It’s time to test all backlogged rape kits to so more sexual assault victims can achieve the justice they so deeply deserve.”

 In September 2016, DePasquale released a 70-page special report that showed Pennsylvania had at least 3,102 rape kits awaiting testing, including at least 1,852 that were backlogged (had been awaiting testing for 12 months or more).

Pennsylvania’s backlog is a fraction of the problem nationwide. The Joyful Heart Foundation, the New York-based national organization founded by “Law and Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay, estimates hundreds of thousands of kits nationwide are awaiting testing — some of them for decades.

“Every kit could represent a victim still awaiting justice,” DePasquale said. “Not testing these kits allows rapists and serial criminals to continue to walk free in our communities.”

The petition, “Fund the Testing of Backlogged Rape Kits,” is available online at: www.change.org. It will now be sent to all 50 U.S. governors.

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