HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of women and minors against current and former Houston officials over delays in testing of rape kits.

The lawsuit alleged the officials allowed the delays, meaning suspects remained free and justice was denied to the victims.

In a 22-page opinion filed Wednesday, however, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore ruled the lawsuit, filed last September, was filed too late. She ruled that a two-year statute of limitations had lapsed in 2013.

An attorney for those who brought the suit, Randall Kallinen of Houston, declined immediate comment Friday.

The class action suit had represented about 6,000 women and several hundred minors who said they were harmed when the Houston Police Department failed to submit their rape kits to a crime lab. Kits submitted in 2011 languished in storage for years.