MPD deputy chief will be interviewed in rape kit lawsuit

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A four-year-old lawsuit against the city of Memphis regarding the thousands of untested rape kits is moving forward.

Monday a judge agreed to a key person being interviewed: Deputy Chief Don Crowe, who was head of the Memphis Police Department's sex crimes unit when the rape kits weren’t being tested.

Crowe will have a deposition where he’s required to bring all policies and procedures relative to the years the three plaintiffs were raped.

Attorneys say hearing from Crowe could help blow their lawsuit against the city open. Plaintiffs think it’ll show a lack of policies in place and that police didn’t follow protocol.

"The problem was a lack of supervision and a lack of oversight, so a detective had the ability, not by policy and procedure, but had the ability to close a case and move it into cyber space and nobody would ever be the wiser of it," said former MPD lieutenant Cody Wilkerson.

Three plaintiffs are now suing the city for the emotional damage caused by negligence.

"To me, as a victim, it takes a lot of courage because we have to relive the same wounds, the same scars, the same dreams, nightmares basically," Valencia Woodin said Monday.

WREG uncovered the backlog in 2010.

The city’s attorneys said they weren’t against Crowe having a deposition but wanted a narrower scope of what he’d be questioned on. But the judge agreed with the plaintiffs.

”He is required to produce policies that explain from the top down just the overall issue of managing rape kit evidence, will have to be accounted for,” said Daniel Lofton, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Attorneys for both sides will be back in court Tuesday afternoon to file that motion for that deposition, which is expected to take place next month.

The plaintiffs are also trying to get this lawsuit certified as a class action lawsuit, meaning they could get more money in the long run.

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