TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Idaho law enforcement agencies are continuing to work through a backlog of untested rape kits in the wake of a law requiring that all rape kits undergo testing, a process that could take a while.
Before a series of reforms established during recent legislative sessions, sexual assault kits were primarily sent for testing to identify the perpetrator in an assault investigation and if accused rapists admitted guilt, they were often never submitted for testing, said Idaho State Police Forensic Services Director Matthew Gamette.
Today, Idaho authorities are asked to send the kits for testing so the evidence could be added to a larger database that tracks serial assaulters, the Times-News reported Monday.
“The game has changed,” Gamette said. “If the victim says you can test their kit and if a crime occurred, then it needs to be tested.”
The reforms make it easier to know when a rape kits should be submitted for testing than in the past, said Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury.
The Twin Falls Police Department sent 18 new sexual assault kits for testing last year, according to a report it published last week.
Testing for 10 of those kits was completed and eight are currently undergoing testing.
Twin Falls police are also preparing to send 41 previously unsubmitted kits to the FBI for testing.
A 2016 audit found hundreds of kits that agencies statewide had never sent to Idaho State Police Forensic Services for analysis.
The FBI offered to help and is accepting older kits from cities across the state.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com