Attorney General's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative makes progress with untested rape kits

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RENO, Nev. (New 4 & Fox 11) -- Attorney General Adam Laxalt's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative has been working in full force since it's inception back in 2015 when Laxalt took office. He discovered that there was a backlog of about 7,634 untested kits, with some kits dating as far back as the early 80s.

It was when Laxalt took office that he directed the initiative, dedicating nearly $3 million in non-taxpayer settlement funds to build the lab testing capacity and to fund testing of outsourced kits.

Since then, various resources have been added to different counties throughout the state, for example, Washoe County Labs has hired two criminalists in addition to finalizing construction plans to build capacity to begin testing kits in-house.

According to a report released by Laxalt's office, 2,883 kits have been tested, while two-thirds have been shipped and are pending. Laxalt said that through the initiative, sexual assault kit testing is now mandatory, and it will be the responsibility of the jurisdictions to provide resources to carry out the testing procedures. He also said that dipping into the backlog will not have an impact on testing future kits, and that funding has been provided to prevent a future backlog from forming.

Multiple arrests have been made in Nevada as a result of testing kits in the backlog and officials hope that testing will result in more arrests.

While many counties in Nevada do have a backlog, counties like Esmerelda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Mineral and Storey counties reported no backlog and are not listed in the Attorney General's report.

To see the report in its entirety, click here.

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