Audit on Untested Rape Kits Passes Senate

150415-Jensen-sexual-assault-quote-v1Minnesota is one step closer to justice for sexual assault victims, thanks to legislation passed Tuesday. The bill requires the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), forensic laboratories, sheriffs, 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.

Sexual assault is a public safety issue that threatens the lives and wellbeing of thousands of people across the state, and this is the first step in determining if Minnesota’s testing protocols have the problems that have been discovered elsewhere. This measure is a key development in developing a survivor-centric response to sexual assault that can help bring perpetrators to justice and 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. (S.F. 1081)

Senate DFL Media