Lawsuit over untested rape kits clears another hurdle

Photo: WREG

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Over fierce opposition from the city, a judge ruled this afternoon that the lawyer for those rape survivors will be able to do a deposition with a former Memphis Police lieutenant. And they expect to walk away with groundbreaking evidence.

“I’m ready for it to be over.”

Debby Dalhoff has done a lot of waiting. Raped 35 years ago by what she describes as a serial rapist, she’s opening up to us about what happened in hopes she’ll get answers about why her rape kit sat in the city’s crime lab untouched for so long.

“Just because it’s been 35 years doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it.”

It was a small victory Thursday as Dalhoff’s attorney, Daniel Lofton, who also represents 50 other rape survivors in a lawsuit against the city, got approval to question former Memphis Police Lt. Cody Wilkerson about how MPD’s sex crimes unit operated.

“All I’m trying to do is to make sure that those orders are protected.”

Robert Meyers, the attorney representing the city, asking judge Gina Higgins to stop the Wilkerson deposition from happening, arguing it might violate previous court orders.

“I’m trying to avoid a situation in which I’m objecting to very question,” he said. “This was just a pre-emptive strike more or less on their part to make so that we couldn’t ask the questions that we want to.”

In the end, the judge sided with Lofton — granting him the right to depose Wilkerson Oct. 30, as well as another witness.

“I think that the city is being just way too restrictive in terms of the information that it’s willing to release.”