Little Attention Given To Tarrant Technician Who Ignored Rape Kits

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Posted July 31, 2012 by Andrew McLemore in Blotch
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Imagine you’re a kid again.

Let’s say you were a happy child (this is hypothetical, so why not) who knocked over the vase of grandma’s ashes while skipping joyfully through the living room. Now let’s say you come clean about the mistake. What happens? Do your parents, proud of your honest, forthright attitude, take you out for ice cream?

Hell no. You get your ass grounded. No Nintendo, no going out to play, no Chips Ahoy after dinner.

Which is why some forensic scientists are incensed about the Texas Forensic Science Commission praising the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office after it came clean early this year about a lab technician who had screened rape kits without actually opening them.

Let’s make this clear: the technician reported “negative” results on the rape kits without testing the DNA inside. Yeah.

The medical examiner’s office went back and reviewed all of the technician’s rape kits since he was

Nizam Peerwani, Tarrant County Chief Medical Examiner

hired in 2006, but none of the rest of his work. The office self-reported the issue to the nine-member commission, which “commended” it for reporting the problem at all, calling them a “model” for how medical examiners should handle such problems. Whoot! They’re awesome!

Seriously though, only in government would someone get rewarded for not hiding a mistake.

It helps that the commission’s chairman is none other than Nizam Peerwani, the chief medical examiner for Tarrant County.

As one blog put it: “So yes, Dr. Peerwani acted quickly to suspend the employee and review his old cases, but isn’t that what he’s supposed to do?”

The technician, called a serologist, was allowed to resign in March. The Tarrant County District Attorney decided last week not to even impanel a grand jury to determine if he could have criminal charges brought against him.

Only Pegasus News and the blog Grits for Breakfast bothered to report this, leading to a story in the Star-Telegram in yesterday’s paper.

Some additional media attention might be warranted here.


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