April 18, 2018

St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office Reviews Sexual Assualt Exam Kits

Original story from   WVPE-FM

Article origination WVPE-FM
St. Joseph County officials at a press conference regarding untested sexual assault examination kits.  - Barbara Anguiano/WVPE

St. Joseph County officials at a press conference regarding untested sexual assault examination kits.

Barbara Anguiano/WVPE

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office today released the review results of more than 400 untested sexual assault examination kits. The review comes after a December 2017 Indiana State Police audit of untested kits in every county.

The prosecutor’s office determined there were 414 cases that included an untested kit, some were not associated with sexual assault cases at all. Of those reviewed, 331 were not sent out for what prosecutors deemed “legitimate reasons,” including victims who decided to not proceed with charges, or there was no evidence that sexual assault had occured.

However, St. Joe County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said 83 of the kits, some of which date back to the '90s, were never sent out for testing, due to a variety of reasons, including mislabeling, or cases not being forwarded to the proper department.

Cotter said the audit conducted by the Indiana State Police was helpful to the county, showing a failure in the system.

“And that failure was to ensure that none of these cases slip through the cracks,” Cotter said. “Because that’s exactly what happened. I don’t find that there was any ill-will from any of the officers involved, I don’t find that there was any ill-will that I just don’t want to do my job, it was just frankly, that people make mistakes.”

Cotter said all of the 83 kits that weren’t tested have been sent to a laboratory, and will be reviewed to determine if further action or prosecution is necessary.

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