Release date: 4/24/2019
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today congratulated Winston-Salem Police Department and Chief of Police Catrina Thompson for its progress in submitting sexual assault kits to the State Crime Lab for testing. Winston-Salem Police Department has submitted 346 older sexual assault kits for review and testing.
“Testing these kits sends a clear message to rapists: no matter how long ago you committed your crime, we will not stop tracking you down and convicting you,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “To survivors, understand that we take this crime seriously and we will never stop working to achieve justice. I commend Winston-Salem Police Department on its progress in testing these kits. We typically see more than 10 percent of kits tested result in a DNA match, and I look forward to hearing about the cold cases Winston-Salem Police Department is able to reopen and solve as a result of this evidence.”
In 2017, Winston-Salem Police Department reported to the State Crime Lab that the department had 1,339 untested kits. According to that statewide inventory, there were approximately 15,000 untested sexual assault kits in law enforcement custody across the state that have not been submitted to the State Crime Lab.
Since the inventory was conducted, the Attorney General’s Office and the State Crime Lab have worked with local law enforcement, including the Winston-Salem Police Department, to submit kits so they can be reviewed, outsourced, tested, and uploaded into the federal database for sexual assault DNA. In February of this year, Winston-Salem Police Department announced that it had made an arrest in a 29-year-old rape case, underscoring the importance of testing these older kits.
Attorney General Stein is working to pass the Survivor Act, legislation that will provide funding to test old kits and put in place requirements that will prevent such a backlog from occurring again. That legislation is currently before the North Carolina House and Senate.
Background on Attorney General Josh Stein and this issue:
- Survivor Act calls for action on more than 15,000 untested rape kits in NC
- Massive backlog of untested rape kits is ‘a public safety issue’ that may be letting offenders slip away, experts warn
- 9 On Your Side investigates rape kit backlog in East
- Attorney General Josh Stein Announces Results of State Crime Lab Inventory of Sexual Assault Kits
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484