Unprocessed rape kits sit at police stations

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — When there is a reported sexual assault, one of the important parts of the investigation is the collection of evidence from the victim’s body. The kit is supposed to be sent to the state crime lab to be processed, but a recent investigation shows nearly 1,000 kits sitting at police departments and state police troops around the state.

Waterbury – 100
Meriden – 78
New Haven – 65
Groton Town – 59
Norwalk – 53

These are the top five in Connecticut.

At the Rape Crisis Center in Milford, Peggy Pisano says they have a great working relationship with law enforcement in their area. They’re thankful for the investigation, but they say there are some reasons some of the kits don’t move forward, like the victim doesn’t want to press charges at the time.

“Sometimes the defendant actually admits his guilt and so there really is no need to send a kit up and labor the lab with these kinds of examinations,” said Pisano.

The investigation not only looks at how many kits are out there, but how long it takes to get them to the lab. Of the nearly 1,000 kits:

9 percent were held less than 1 year
53 percent were held for 1 to 5 years
38 percent were held for more than 5 years

Pisano says she is grateful the kits are kept for five years because that is the Statue of Limitations on sexual assault.

“If the kits are held and it is not tested immediately, but a prosecutor wants a test completed three years into the process it hasn’t been lost and it can still be examined,” said Pisano.

Connecticut has received a $1.4 million grant from the Department of Justice to help with backlogs at the state police crime lab.

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