09/19/2011

NY group, university to study rape kit backlog

The kits are the physical evidence collected after a sexual assault

By Frank Eltman
Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A recently formed organization contends there is a nationwide backlog of untested rape kits. Now it is teaming with a New York university to try to figure out how many are sitting on shelves in police department storage closets.

Natasha's Justice Project, based on New York's Long Island, believes there could be as many as 180,000 untested rape kits nationwide. But no one really knows for sure. The kits are the physical evidence collected after a sexual assault.

Natasha Alexenko started the organization this year. She says Stony Brook University researchers and a group called Strategic Planning will try to determine the number.

Alexenko has publicly identified herself as a survivor of sexual assault. Manhattan prosecutors caught her attacker when they tested her rape kit nine years after the crime.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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