NC legislative panel backs tracking of sexual assault kits

A legislative committee has backed draft legislation to set up a tracking system so victims can follow their sexual assault kits and know when they've been tested. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A legislative committee has backed draft legislation to set up a tracking system so victims can follow their sexual assault kits and know when they've been tested.

An audit released in February showed North Carolina has a backlog of more than 15,000 untested sexual assault kits. Law enforcement agencies had to sort the number of untested kits into four categories: Anonymous Kits, Resolved In Court, Suspect Admission and Unfounded. Out of the 15,160 untested kits in the state, 7,545 didn't fit into any category.

According to the report, the Asheville Police Department has 573 untested kits. Of that number, 352 didn't fall into any of the four categories.

Authorities with the State Bureau of Investigation say a tracking system will help ensure the state doesn't develop such a backlog in the future.

The legislation also sets up a committee to recommend how to handle the backlog, such as which cases get priority for testing. SBI officials estimate it would cost more than $10 million to test all of those kits, and the testing would have to be outsourced.

A joint legislative committee recommended the draft legislation Thursday.

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