Lawsuit: Former APD detectives claim the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits could’ve been prevented

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For years, Albuquerque Police had thousands of untested rape kits just sitting on the shelves. While the city finally cleared the backlog, three former APD detectives are now suing, saying the department kept them from preventing the scandal in the first place.

These three former detectives worked in the Sex Crimes Unit. One of them has a bombshell of a claim against the higher-ups at APD at the time. “Attempted to create her own spreadsheet and she had identified at that time, 22 serial rapists. She was ordered to stop working on that,” says Attorney, Laura Schauer-Ives.

This comes just months after the city announced they had cleared more than 5,000 untested rape kits. A few high profile arrests have also been made since those kits have been tested, from cases dating back to the 90s.

However, former APD detectives Sally Dyer, Teresa Romero, and Mandi Abernathy say there was nothing for them to celebrate because of all that could’ve been done sooner. The stockpile of untested rape kits came to light under Mayor Richard Berry. Then Chief, Ray Schultz defended APD, claiming most of the kits were from cases where the victims backed out.

The former detectives say the lack of training from the department also showed solving sex crimes was not a priority. “Why on earth would you not embrace and elevate the work of these incredible female detectives? Why is it you don’t want the world to know?” says Attorney, Shannon Kennedy.

The women have filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city and the department. They claim they were retaliated against once they tried to speak up about the department not doing enough to solve sex crimes in the city.

All three detectives resigned from APD over the past couple of years. An APD spokesperson says the department will fully investigate the allegations mentioned in the lawsuit and they are committed to improving investigations of sexual assault cases.

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