Report: More Than 800 Rape Kits in Conn. Weren't Tested - NECN
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Report: More Than 800 Rape Kits in Conn. Weren't Tested

State crime lab has task of processing more than 800 (Published Thursday, March 17, 2016)

There are 879 sexual assault evidence kits or "rape kits" that sat in police departments across Connecticut for years.

In some cases, evidence kits weren't tested for as many as 20 years.

That's according a to a report issued by the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The data was compiled through a survey of police departments around Connecticut.

“Eight hundred seventy nine untested kits represents 879 victims that are waiting for justice," said Laura Cordes, the Executive Director of the organization.

So far, 650 of them have been sent to the State Crime Lab in Meriden for testing.

The lab cleared a historic backlog last year, and with the addition of these, it creates a new sort of issue says Dr. Guy Vallero, the chief of the lab.

"We're going to figure out a way to address these as soon as possible," he said. One possible solution is to outsource the tests to labs in other states.

Nearly 40 percent of the untested rape kits were more than five years old, with some as old as twenty years.

Cordes says the reasons departments didn't have the kits varied. They included not having faith in a backlogged crime lab, and not grasping the importance of the mere existence of the kit.

She said coming forward is a major step for victims.

“Not only disclosing a sexual assault but having evidence collected and reporting to the police and they deserve to make sure that evidence is used in the successful prosecution, hopefully, of an offender.”

Cordes is the leader of a working group established by Gov. Malloy to look at possible policy changes relating to sexual assault. The state instituted a new law last year that requires local police to send a sexual assault evidence kit to the state crime lab within ten days of collection, and the lab then has 60 days to process it.

“We’re taking some great steps in our state to improve the response to sexual assault," Cordes said.

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