What’s being done with almost 2,000 rape kits sitting untested in PA

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- The number of backlogged untested rape kits is 1,852. The Department of Health released the number Wednesday. This comes following a law passed in 2015 telling law enforcement and state crime labs to report the untested rape kits.

"The problem with the delay is allowing someone capable of doing this still out on the street," Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.

His office is launching a report into finding out how to resolve the issue. He wants the number of backlogged kits to be as close to zero as possible.

Contributing factors to the backlog include funding and staffing. Other contributing factors are some victims don't want the kits processed.

"The first hours and days after a sexual assault are very overwhelming and very confusing," Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (P.C.A.R.) spokesperson Kristen Houser said.

P.C.A.R. is just one of the stakeholders in this report. Other agencies include the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association, and the Chief of Police Association.

"Anytime we have leadership sending a message to the commonwealth [that] we're taking rape seriously, it's a good thing," Houser said.

The average time to process a rape at a state crime lab is about 185 days, according to state police.

DePasquale said Pennsylvania is better off than some other states but wants to continue improving the system.

"Whatever recommendations or tweaks to the law that need to be made and whatever funding necessary to make sure we get that number as close to zero as possible," he said.

He added this report can help to get repeat offenders off the streets.

"Getting all these kits tested can help, not only get the bad guy here, but future crime," he said.

The report is expected to be released later this year. There is a national movement to end the problem across the country, click here to visit their website.

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