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Audit Finds Backlog In Rape Kit Testing In New York

Pat Sullivan

Auditors in New York say policies need to change to handle a backlog of rape kits from alleged victims of sexual assault.

The Forensic Investigation Center in Albany is the only crime laboratory that can process rape kits for the State Police. Under the law, rape kits must be processed within 90 days to develop genetic profiles to help solve violent sex crimes.

A 2016 order required law enforcement agencies to submit all untested kits to the lab for analysis. 

State auditors say that pushed three times the number of kits than what the lab was prepared for. The lab processed all of the kits, but 88% missed the timeframe required. 

They say with the current staff and funding it will take the lab two years to process the backlog before it can get to newer submissions.

A previous version of this story misidentified the timeline of the audit; The audit examined the processing of rape kits between November  2017 and October 2019. The correction also clarifies that all kits were analyzed, just not in a timely manner.  

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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