JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Earlier this week, Missouri’s attorney general announced testing is now underway on a backlog of thousands of untested sexual assault kits.
The attorney general, Eric Schmitt says it was about a year ago when his office launched the effort to first determine just how many sexual assault kits were untested.
Some of the kits have been in storage for decades.
“Some of these kits date back to the 1980s,” Schmitt said.
One of the problems was a lack of a statewide tracking system.
“Some of these kits were literally in evidence rooms all across Missouri or in some instances in hospital, sort of evidence rooms,” Schmitt said.
So the attorney general’s office made these recommendations to lawmakers.
- Require all entities handling the kits to use an electronic tracking system his office is developing.
- Create a centralized location where all untested kits can be properly retained.
- Review and revise the information located on the exterior of kits to give practitioners the information they need without compromising the integrity of the evidence.
- Track each kit as a whole, instead of individual parts to prevent compromising evidence.
“As a husband as a father as the state’s attorney general this is a big priority for us, for me,” Schmitt said.
A federal grant will provide enough funding for 1,250 kits to be tested in private labs. The attorney general estimates testing those kits will take about 80 to 90 days. Once that grant money is used, his office will apply for another federal grant to continue a process the attorney general says victims deserve.
“It’s a big deal for a victim to come forward to submit to this you know this kit and this test, that we want to make sure we’re honoring that and doing everything we can to get these kits tested, find out the results, work with local prosecutors and bring people to justice,” Schmitt said.
The attorney general believes this effort will help give victims hope.