Results from first 'backlogged' sexual assault kits expected thi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Results from first 'backlogged' sexual assault kits expected this month

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) - After finding more than 3,000 backlogged rape kits in Kentucky, the crucial evidence is now being tested. 

The process could lead to more arrests and justice for victims, and the first test results will likely be in by the end of September. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says the first kits will likely be from cases out of the Louisville area. But officials are preparing police and prosecutors from across the state to get ready for the results and held a training session earlier this week. 

"We spent all afternoon talking about, 'Here's what you can expect when these kits come back,'" Beshear said. 

The plan is to notify every single victim, even if there's no DNA hit. 

"I think all of the survivors that are in the backlog are aware that their kit is probably in the backlog. And they're waiting to hear," said Eileen Recktenwald, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP). 

Some people have been waiting for justice for several years. 

The Attorney General's Office tell us that only 3 percent of sexual assault cases in Kentucky end in a plea or conviction. The hope is that number will change. 

"We expect that there will be a number of hits, that a number of serial rapists will be identified, that these cold cases will be resolved," said Gretchen Hunt, Executive Director of the Office of Victim Advocacy. 

As for the future, there's a new law in place to make sure a backlog doesn't happen again. The Safe Act sets procedures and timelines for testing rape kits. 

"We are being touted as a national model for the Safe Act, it's one of the strongest laws to address the backlog," Hunt said. "And people are watching Kentucky to see what were doing on this backlog."

Hunt says the state still needs to collect hundreds of the backlogged kits. She says out of more than 3,000, only about 1,600 have been sent in to the state lab. 

"We want to stress the urgency to local law enforcement that they should send in those kits as soon as possible," she said. "We don't want victims to wait for justice any longer." 

The new law says those kits must be turned over by Jan. 1, 2017. 

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