More than 3,000 sexual assault kits have never been tested in Kentucky, and the lack of adequate resources is mostly to blame, a new report found.
Kentucky is one of more than a dozen states and cities counting and testing rape kits, state auditor Adam Edelen told reporters Monday, announcing the results of the report.
“The result of this count is we now know that the number of untested sexual assault kits in Kentucky is 3,090. And it’s important for a moment to get beyond just the number, and to understand that these really do represent the most fragile of human lives,” he said.
Nationwide, estimates are that at least 400,000 rape kits are sitting untested in labs around the country.
In Kentucky, the average turnaround time to analyze sexual assault evidence submitted in 2014 is eight months, and that time is increasing, Edelen said.
“This is unacceptable,” he added. “Far too many rapists are walking the streets while the evidence needed to put them behind bars is collecting dust.”
Besides clearing the backlog, the state auditor hopes changes will be made in Kentucky to help the state from ending up in the same place it is now.
He called for more and better training for law enforcement, that nearly all rape kits be submitted for analysis within 10 days of booking them into evidence, and for reform and more resources at the state crime lab,
Edelen estimated it would take an initial investment of $3 million to $5 million in the first year, and $2 million in recurring costs after that.
“When a victim has the courage to undergo an invasive and traumatizing exam after an assault, he or she deserves to have the evidence in that sexual assault kit analyzed,” he said. “One of government’s fundamental responsibilities is to bring these rapists to justice.”