Rape kit testing

The Idaho State Police Forensic Services lab tests a rape kit for DNA samples.

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CALDWELL — Caldwell will have 38 rape kits tested. Nampa will have 111 kits tested. The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office will test 16.

In all, 165 rape kits from Canyon County will now be submitted to a lab for testing, according to an Idaho Press-Tribune review of some of the audits on untested rape kits.

The agencies submitted the audits after legislation passed this year mandating that law enforcement provide information to the Idaho State Police Forensic Services lab regarding all untested kits in custody.

A sexual assault kit, commonly called a rape kit, involves the examination of a victim’s body for any DNA forensic evidence left behind after he or she has been allegedly sexually assaulted.

The deadline for all 130 Idaho law enforcement entities to submit audits to the lab was Monday. Idaho State Police Forensic Services denied the Press-Tribune’s request for copies of all audits, but local law enforcement provided the records when asked.

The Caldwell Police Department’s audit on untested sexual assault kits shows the department will submit 38 previously untested sexual assault kits.

Caldwell’s audit outlined 38 kits that needed testing, and four of those kits were sent to the lab Friday.

Previously untested Caldwell kits were listed as cases being unfounded, having prosecution declined or involved a victim’s refusal to cooperate. One untested rape kit was from a case listed as not having a suspect and being inactive, according to the Caldwell police audit.

The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office reported in its audit that the agency had 21 untested sexual assault kits, and 16 of them still required testing. Two were untested because of the victim’s refusal, and three were untested because they were no longer being investigated as a crime.

The Nampa Police Department’s audit found a total of 125 untested sexual assault kits in its custody.

Of those 125 kits, 111 still require testing. Ten of the untested kits were from cases where no crime was committed, one untested kit’s case was an allegation no longer being investigated as a crime, and in three of the cases with untested kits, the victim refused testing.

Caldwell police Lt. Alan Seevers said his department decided to send all of its untested kits that were found after the agency’s record review.

“We decided to send them all to make sure we didn’t miss anything,” Seevers said.

In the future, Caldwell police will continue to follow the state’s regulations around testing sexual assault kits, he said. The state has outlined two reasons a kit may go untested. If a victim refuses to have his or her kit tested or if law enforcement determines no crime has been committed, the kit may not be submitted for forensic testing.

Seevers said detectives did discuss sending all sexual assault kits in the future, but will follow the exemption criteria the state mandates.

On Tuesday, the Press-Tribune filed records requests with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and the Boise Police Department for copies of the agencies’ sexual assault kit audits.

Boise Police asked for an extension of time to gather the information requested. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office had not responded Wednesday, but pursuant to Idaho Public Records Law, the agency has three days to respond.

Ruth Brown is the public safety and digital first reporter. Contact her at 465-8105 or rbrown@idahopress.com. Follow @RuthBrownNews.

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