Background & Resources
Kentucky's Backlog Initiative: A Timeline
Counting the SAFE Kits
The Legislature passed a resolution, SJR 20, requiring the State Auditor to count the untested SAFE kits in Kentucky.
The investigation by the State Auditor found there were 3,090 untested sexual assault kits on the shelves of local law enforcement agencies and at the KSP forensic laboratory. The Auditor's report also made recommendations for reform to ensure kits were tested in the future.
Testing the Kits
Kentucky received a $1.9 million grant from the District Attorney of New York (DANY) to analyze the untested kits at a private laboratory and try to match DNA found in the kits to perpetrators and unsolved crimes.
KSP began sending kits in batches of about 60 to a private lab. The lab started receiving results in August 2016. KSP began analyzing and verifying the results and uploading DNA profiles obtained during the analysis into the state and national DNA databases.
Preparing for Hits
A group of advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors and the Attorney General's office reviewed best practices from other jurisdictions and determined guidelines for notifying sexual assault survivors whose kits are tested. The team developed resources to assist law enforcement and advocates.
Reforming the Law
Kentucky's Legislature passed a comprehensive reform measure with broad, bipartisan approval. The law requires all SAFE kits to be submitted and tested within certain time frames and improved training for law enforcement, among other things.
Indicting the 1st Serial Rapist
A Louisville man already convicted of four rapes and who was awaiting trial for two more was charged with another rape – the first indictment to result from Kentucky’s efforts to test previously untested kits. DNA evidence in the case was gathered but not previously tested.
Investigating the Cold Cases
The Office of Attorney General used funding from a $3 million federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant to established a cold case unit and add a cold case investigator to the Kentucky State Police. In addition to providing investigative and prosecutorial support for local jurisdictions across the state, the SAKI Cold Case Unit regularly provides victim-centered technical assistance to victim advocates, law enforcement, and prosecutors across the Commonwealth.
Receiving a 2nd SAKI grant
In September 2019, the OAG was awarded a second SAKI grant, in the amount of $1.4 million, to hire another investigator, permanently detailed to the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), and a crime analyst for the Cold Case Unit.
Tracking Law Passed
The Legislature passed Senate Bill 97, which requires the Kentucky State Police to establish a rape kit tracking system. The system must include a portal for victims to anonymously check the status of their rape kits.