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State crime lab accepting untested rape kits from across Utah

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 19:52:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah State Crime Lab began accepting untested rape kits from agencies all across the state; throughout Utah there are an estimated 2,700 untested sexual assault kits.

In a typical year, the state crime lab tests 250 to 300 rape kits, but as police agencies across the state begin submitting more untested sexual assault kits, the lab will likely see an increased workload.

“We do have a pretty good capacity," said Jay Henry, who is the Director of the Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory. "We've designed it so we can test it without impacting our current case load, that was also a concern. We don't want to impact our current operations.”

Not all of the 2,700 sexual assault kits will be tested. Police said there are several reasons for not testing, including if the victim makes a false accusation and recants, if the offender confesses to the crime, or if the DNA sample is insufficient.

“There is no way for us to know why those kits are sitting there until we begin to look at that and analyze that,” said Jeff Carr, Deputy Commission, Utah Department of Public Safety.

Victims advocates want to see the majority of the cases that have not been reviewed get tested. Each kit costs an average of $1,100 to complete.

The Utah Department of Public Safety set aside $750,000 to help the crime lab process the untested kits and upload them to the national DNA database