The Power of Truth

The Life of Louis R. Vitullo and the Legacy of the Rape Kit

When Louis R. Vitullo started as a “beat cop” with the Chicago Police Department in 1951 he couldn’t have guessed the impact he would make on the history of forensics. As Sergeant and then Chief Microanalyst of the crime lab, he oversaw some of Chicago’s most notorious cases, which allowed him to address flaws in crime scene investigation. In 1978 he created the Vitullo Evidence Collection Kit, now known as Rape Kits, which standardized the collection of evidence in sexual assault cases.

These “Vitullo Kits” have increased the convictions of sexual offenders and improved survivors’ ability to obtain justice by challenging biases toward sexual crimes and fighting victim shaming. Additionally, they assist in exonerating the wrongly accused. However, Vitullo never imagined that over 400,000 kits would be discovered untested and collecting dust in evidence lockers throughout the United States. He had done his part to help those affected by sexual assault crimes… why aren’t we doing ours?

The Power of Truth is the story of Louis R. Vitullo and the legacy of the rape kit as told by his granddaughter, a forensic psychologist who works with sexually deviant and serial offenders, a compelling chronicle of a family legacy addressing criminal justice reform.

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