Kentucky auditor Adam Edelen pledges to get 3,000 rape kits test - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky auditor Adam Edelen pledges to get 3,000 rape kits tested

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There are more than 860 untested rape kits at the state crime lab In Frankfort and KSP is hopeful that with more grant money, those could be processed (WDRB News File photo). There are more than 860 untested rape kits at the state crime lab In Frankfort and KSP is hopeful that with more grant money, those could be processed (WDRB News File photo).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than 3,000 rape kits have gone untested in Kentucky, state auditor Adam Edelen announced Monday after completing a review of hundreds of law enforcement agencies.

The Louisville Metro Police Department accounted for about 43 percent of the untested kits, according to a report from Edelen's office.

READ THE REPORT, "VICTIMS MATTER"

Speaking in Frankfort, Edelen said the backlog jeopardizes public safety and clogs the criminal justice system. He said the kits can provide DNA matches to rape suspects, bringing closure to victims. 

"These are folks that have survived what I view as perhaps the worst possible crime. It's something that doesn't leave you that stays with you all your years," he said. 

Edelen said Kentucky can't use lack of funding as an excuse to resolve the backlog. State crime labs should get the funding they need to test every rape kit they receive, he said.

"There's not a politician in this town or any other that can claim to be tough on crime without fully funding the state crime lab," Edelen said. "Our first assessment is it would take $3 million to $5 million in the first year of the next legislative session and it would take $2 million in recurring costs after that."

Auditors found 1,859 kits that police departments and sheriffs’ offices had not sent on for testing, and 1,231 untested kits at the Kentucky State Police's forensic laboratory.

The Kentucky State Police is using a $1.9 million grant from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in New York to test its kits. Sgt. Michael Webb, a KSP spokesman, said the agency has received Edelen's report and is reviewing it.

Sexual assault survivor Michelle Kuiper said her case wasn't solved until nearly 20 years after the crime occurred in 1994. 

"It was fall semester," she said. "I was a freshman in college." 

She said the push to get the kits tested will make a difference in the lives of thousands of people. 

"DNA is a new technology today that can solve a lot of crimes and it's what caught by perpetrator," Kuiper said. "I think what we have to remember is these kits aren't just kits. Each one of those kits is a person and one of them is too many."

Related: Kentucky State Police receives $1.9 million grant to test backlogged rape kits

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