Nearly $3 million awarded to Kentucky AG's office to tackle sexu - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Nearly $3 million awarded to Kentucky AG's office to tackle sexual assault cold cases

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced a nearly $3 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department for investigating sexual assaults.

The funds are part of the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant.

"I believe in a world where sexual assault does not happen," Beshear said. "Today, we're taking a step toward building that world."

Beshear said Kentucky has made progress since 2015 when the state had a backlog of more than 3,000 untested rape kits. All those kits have now been tested, and there has been one indictment.

"We won't stop until every survivor secures some form of justice," Beshear said.

Beshear's office said the funds will be used to establish a "sexual assault cold case unit" that will focus on identifying and prosecuting suspects in cold case sexual assaults. The unit will be made up of a victim advocate, an investigator, a prosecutor and a SAKI coordinator.

Beshear's office says that, among other things, the $2,998,090 grant will help investigators tackle Kentucky's sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) kit backlog.

The grant will also fund the testing of another 1,500 rape kits. Many are so called boomerang kits, that the crime lab, for various reasons, did not finish testing and returned to law enforcement. Often these were tough cases that prosecutors chose not to pursue.

"What happens now, if we work that case and it links up to six other cases that are also declined, you now have six cases with one suspect," said Laura Sudkamp, Manager of the KSP Crime Lab. "You have a much stronger case."

Michelle Kuiper, herself an assault survivor, said the grant will help assure others that their cases are not being ignored.

"Justice should be the default and not the rarity, and that's what we're talking about today," Kuiper said.

Additionally, the grant will enable Beshear's office to fund an extra KSP cold case unit sexual assault detective.

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