PHOENIX— The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has been a leader in the movement of ending a previous backlog of untested sexual assault kits since 2015 and we are close to testing 100% of that backlog.
“This is the culmination of our effort to seek justice on behalf of victims of sexual assault, hold offenders fully accountable for their crimes, and prevent serial rapists from causing additional harm to the community,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “With changes to investigative protocols and an emphasis on testing all sex assault kits, we will continue to work in partnership with law enforcement to ensure justice is delivered.”
As of this month we can announce that 95% of the approximately 4,500 rape kits in Maricopa County have been submitted for testing and 90% of those have been tested to completion. With less than 250 kits left to be tested and barring any unforeseen events, the backlog will be eliminated before the end of the year. Since the end of 2015, the Office has worked to secure four different grants, three from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) through its Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant program and one from the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DANY), all totaling $5.7 million.
These grants have not only fully funded the testing of backlog kits, they have allowed the office to fund additional positions, including a detective and prosecutor, dedicated to supporting our law enforcement partners in their follow up investigations based on results from the kits. During this process of testing previously unsubmitted kits through the grants, 754 resulted in a DNA hit, meaning DNA capable of identifying the offender was found. So far, 13 defendants have been indicted with eight having already been convicted and sentenced for their crimes.