NEWS: Reps. Tarr, Drummond, and Spohnholz Welcome News of a Federal Grant to Process Untested Rape Kits in Alaska

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Legislative Action Still Needed to Ensure All Rape Kits are Timely Tested

October 4, 2016

Anchorage – Representatives Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) release the following statements in response to the announcement that the State of Alaska is receiving a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to process over 1,000 sexual assault kits collected by the Alaska State Troopers.  The grant money will also fund a prosecuting attorney and investigator.

“I introduced legislation in 2015 requiring an audit of our rape kits when I learned that we had a backlog of hundreds of untested rape kits.  I applaud Governor Walker for prioritizing this and taking over completion of the audit that allowed us to receive these critical federal dollars,” said Rep. Tarr.  “Across the country testing of rape kits is putting serial rapists and other dangerous criminals behind bars where they can no longer pose a threat in our communities.  Victims deserve justice and our communities will be safer because of this work.  Additionally, the funds can help us train staff so this doesn’t happen again.”

“This grant money is a small victory for the advocates of sexual assault victims that have brought attention to the unacceptable backlog of untested rape kits in a state with some of the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in the nation,” said Rep. Spohnholz.  “I am ecstatic that this grant could result in justice at long last for the thousands of Alaska women who have had justice delayed because a key piece of evidence went untested.”

“This grant will allow 1,000 sexual assault kits to be tested but that still leaves an unacceptable backlog of another 2,000 kits. That means there is still more work to do to solve this issue. However, with the help of the Governor and my fellow lawmakers the resources can be found. In fact, they must be found,” said Rep. Drummond.

For more information, please contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.



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