Priority list created for Oklahoma’s untested rape kits

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As thousands of rape kits remain untested in the Sooner State, a task force has approved a priority list to help decide which tests are investigated first.

Attorney General Mike Hunter’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force approved a priority list of which untested rape kits would be submitted for testing.

Officials say a preference will be given to the most recent cases in every category.

The highest priority will be given to kits that meet the following criteria:

  • Must be within the statute of limitations;
  • Where the suspect is unknown;
  • A case that involved violence or forced involvement;
  • Where a child is involved;
  • There is potential the suspect is a serial or repeat offender;
  • Where the victim is a senior citizen or an individual with diminished mental capacity;
  • If multiple suspects are involved;
  • In cases where charges have been filed or are pending.

Second tier priority includes:

  • Must be within the statute of limitations;
  • Where the suspect is known or it involves a date rape;
  • The district attorney declines charges;
  • The victim is uncooperative;
  • Where there is no accusation of rape or sexual assault;
  • And if both the victim and suspect claim intercourse occurred.

Kits with the lowest priority:

  • Any case beyond the statute of limitations.

The following kits will not be tested:

  • In a case where the victim has not reported to law enforcement;
  • The victim has requested the kit not be tested;
  • If the offender has already been convicted of sexual assault and has a DNA profile in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

“Thanks to the outstanding work and commitment of the task force members, we are continuing to make headway on eliminating the number of untested kits, while creating a clear roadmap for the future,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Our goal is for there to be no more ambiguities in the system and with the continuous progress being made, we are well on our way to achieving that outcome. While we have surpassed great milestones together, there is still work to be done on behalf of victims and survivors of sexual assault.”

Officials say they are also working on a new sexual assault evidence kit tracking system, which would allow victims and officers to track the status of a rape kit during the testing process.

The system should be in use by February.

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