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St. Joseph County provides update on untested sexual assault kits audit

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter held a press conference Wednesday morning to provide an update to the county's review of the 478 untested Sexual Assault Examination Kits (SAEK) found in an Indiana State Police statewide audit last year.

After the ISP audit, the prosecutor's office had a detective from the Special Victim's Unit and a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney review all of the cases involving untested sexual assault kits.

After the review, it was determined there were 414 SAEK that were unexamined and untested.

Of those, there were valid reasons 313 of the kits were not tested, but invalid reasons for the failure to test 83 kits.

  • 34 - Not sexual assault cases
  • 7 - Mislabeled as not being sent for testing
  • 42 - Jane Doe kits
  • 35 - Victim asked they not proceed
  • 43 - No evidentiary reason for testing (suspect admitted act)
  • 95 - Victim discontinued cooperation or advised allegation was inaccurate
  • 26 - Defendant was convicted
  • 27 - Parent tested child out of concern, but further evidence showed no sexual assault occurred.
  • 13 - Children were very young
  • 9 - kits taken at request of another jurisdiction

In these 331 kits, the kits were kept out of an abundance of caution, according to the prosecutor's office. They did not have an impact on whether or not a suspect was charged or convicted.

The prosecutor's office says 83 of the kits should have been sent to the laboratory, but were not. The cases range from 1990 to the present day.

  • 1 case was linked to the wrong case and never sent
  • 3 were mislabeled and were not sexual assault kits but should have been sent to the lab for DNA testing
  • 3 cases were not tested because the suspect was unknown. In the 90s the lab wasn't equipped to analyze these types of cases. These kits have been sent to the lab for testing
  • 29 cases were never forwarded to a detective, prior to 2003, or the SVU, since 2003. Those cases have now been assigned to a detective for investigation.
  • 9 kits were reported as sent to the lab, but they were in the department storage facility. Those kits have now been sent and are awaiting results.
  • 39 kits had no reason for lack of testing. They all have been sent to the lab.

In 2015, the Special Victims Unit required all sexual assault kits be sent to the lab for testing, but there was no oversight to ensure the policy was followed. Because of this, 36 kits were not sent to the lab.

The SVU has implemented new policy requirements to prevent this from happening again.

The prosecutor's office says every kit that should have been sent for testing has been sent. Once the results of the testing are received, the case will be reviewed to determine further action.

Untested Sexual Assault Examination Kits (SAEK) in St. Joseph County
YearValid reasonInvalid reasonYearly total
2017411455
201622830
2015341650
201424933
201329837
201221223
201127229
201019221
200915116
200810111
2007516
20069110
2005527
2004505
2003538
20029110
200114115
200017219
1999808
1998527
1997347
1996000
1995112
1994101
1993112
1992000
1991000
1990112
 33183414



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