Study says thousands of untested rape kits cost Kentucky more than $4 million
A study by the Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee says crimes committed as a result of rape kits going untested could have been prevented if the KSP Lab had more funding.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hundreds of untested rape kits in the state cost Kentucky more than $4 million.
A study by the Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee says letting the kits go untested allowed the criminals to commit new crimes, and in some cases, that included murder.
The study says those new crimes could have been prevented if the KSP Lab had more funding. The first 1,000 kits of about 3,000 were tested, and results revealed 87 of the offenders went on to commit crimes after the kits were collected but not tested.
“There's this possibility that had we tested those kits, we would have identified the offenders and maybe save money upfront so they wouldn't go on to commit additional crimes,” said Laela Kashan, an attorney with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
The study says manslaughter and homicides cost victims and taxpayers over $2.5 million in medical and criminal justice fees. The total cost of additional crimes in the state totaled $4.2 million.
Kashan said a solution can be found at the Kentucky State Police Forensic lab.
“When we adequately fund the lab, that's going to make our criminal justice processes go more smoothly,” Kashan said.
Currently, it takes a year for a kit to even be tested. With 10 new hires at the lab, the goal is to be caught up soon.
“We hope that by July 1, kits submitted by July 1 will be complete within 90 days,” KSP Lab Director Laura Sudkamp said.
Sudkamp said the lab needs steady funding for new equipment.
“So that we can stay current. So that we can move faster," she said. "There's automation out there that can speed us up in several areas."
Sudkamp added that the lab needs more money for workers for the 90-day time-frame to be realistic.
“We are severely underpaid,” she said.
Sudkamp said they are the lowest paid in the country making it hard to retain employees. Of the new hires, three of the ten have left after their year of training.
“We're at the point right now, if we lose one more, we will not meet the 90-day turnaround time,” Sudkamp said.
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