Audit on Untested Rape Kits Passes Senate

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Saint Paul, MN – Minnesota will be one step closer to justice for sexual assault victims thanks to legislation passed Tuesday. The bill, SF 1081, requires the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), forensic laboratories, sheriff and police chiefs to prepare and submit a report on untested rape kits in their possession. This provides the first step in accountability and transparency for sexual assault kit testing protocols in Minnesota, according to chief author Senator Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna).

“Sexual assault is a public safety issue that truly threatens the lives of thousands of people across the state, and this is the first step in determining if our testing protocols have the problems that have been discovered elsewhere,” said Sen. Jensen. “This measure is the first step in developing a survivor-centric response to sexual assault that can help bring perpetrators to justice and help bring sexual assault survivors some much-needed comfort.”

The legislation comes during a nationwide effort to catalog the inventory of untested rape kids. By testing these rape kits, DNA and other valuable evidence can be logged into a database and matched with open cases, leading to the arrests of sexual assault criminals and bringing them to justice. While the number of untested rape kits in Minnesota is currently unknown, other locations have found staggering backlogs existed. The city of Houston, Texas announced just weeks ago that they had tested 6,600 previously untested kits, and DNA from 850 of those kits matched people in their database leading to charges in 29 cases.

The bill passed 58-0 off the Senate Floor and now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote before heading for the Governor’s signature.

“I would love to receive a report that a backlog doesn’t exist in Minnesota, but without a reporting responsibility, we have no way of knowing whether a problem exists. This legislation addresses that need,” added Jensen.

For questions on this or any other legislation, please contact Senator Jensen at 651-296-9457 or at vickij@senate.mn.

Senator Vicki Jensen
Vicki Jensen represents District 24 in southeastern Minnesota. She is the vice chair of the Commerce Committee.

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