Kym Worthy, Prosecutor, Wayne County, Michigan
The Challenge: In 2009 DNA evidence collected from thousands of sexual assaults turned up in an abandoned Detroit police warehouse. "It was an atrocity," Worthy says.
How She Tackled It: After the discovery of the samples, known as rape kits, the prosecutor's office, local police, and victims' rights groups launched the 400 Project, a statistical analysis of hundreds of randomly selected kits. Worthy's office has since identified 21 suspected serial rapists.
Next Steps: In 2011 Worthy won a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Justice to continue testing the remaining 10,749 kits; she's also creating a database to link each to its original police report. Says Worthy, "We are determined to change how law enforcement responds to sexual assaults." —Diane Herbst