Pennsylvania auditor reports ‘significant drop’ in backlogged rape kits

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The number of backlogged rape kits awaiting testing in Pennsylvania has decreased by 90 percent in the last three years, the state’s auditor general said.

Auditor General Eugene Depasquale announced Thursday that the number of backlogged kits is now at 339.

In a special report on the state’s untested rape kits, Depasquale’s office found 3,217 backlogged kits in 2016. Some of those kits had been sitting in crime labs since the 1990s.

A backlogged rape kit is one that has been untested for at least one year.

As of December 2018, there were no backlogged kits in the Pennsylvania State Police and Philadelphia Police Department crime labs.

The Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner had 94 backlogged kits. Local law enforcement agencies had 245 backlogged kits.

“Getting all of these kits tested and doing it immediately is so very critical,” DePasquale said. “The victims will tell you the pain lasts a lifetime. Getting these kits tested matters and it matters a lot.”

DePasquale said his office was in talks with the Idaho State Police forensic team, which has developed a rape kit tracking system. It would allow police and crime lab officials to record every kit and track what happens to it. Idaho State Police are making that system available at no cost.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.