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BOISE — A copy of a required audit on untested sexual assault kits from the Ada County Sheriff's Office found that the agency had 25 yet to be tested. 

Of those, 17 kits still required testing, four were linked to cases no longer being investigated as a crime and four were from cases investigators determined no crime was committed.

The audit was done to comply with recent legislation that requires each of Idaho's 130 law enforcement agencies to submit an audit identifying the number of untested sexual assault kits in custody and an explanation of why those kits had not yet been tested. The audits were supposed to be delivered to the Idaho State Police Forensic Services lab by Oct. 31.

A sexual assault kit, commonly called a rape kit, is used to collect forensic DNA evidence from the body of an alleged sexual assault victim after he or she has been assaulted. The DNA findings can be used to either identify or acquit a suspect.

The Idaho Press-Tribune also requested a copy of Boise Police Department's audit on untested sexual assault kits, but the department responded saying it had not completed its audit. In its response letter, the department said an extension was granted because it was "just recently learning of the existence of several of its sexual assault kits in the possession of another agency."

However, the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national nonprofit advocating for rape-kit reform, provided the Press-Tribune with numbers from its most recent public information request.

The foundation, through its Accountability Project, requests data from law enforcement agencies across the country. Recently, the Accountability Project submitted a request with the Boise Police Department.

Based on information obtained in that request, the foundation determined the department had 173 kits that were not sent for testing between 2006 and December 2015. Since filing its request, the Accountability Project reported that 109 of those kits have been submitted for processing.

Last year, when the Press-Tribune requested data on the number of untested kits in Boise Police custody, the agency could not explain the reason some kits were not tested in a timely manner.

After the Press-Tribune's record request, the department verified that from Jan. 1, 2011, to Nov. 13, 2015, there were 202 kits taken into Boise Police Department custody.

But, to find how many of those 202 kits were tested, BPD told the Press-Tribune it would cost $600, which accounted for 20 hours of staff labor to prepare the number and up to three hours of attorney time for review. At the time of the response, the Idaho Press-Tribune declined to pay the fee.

Last week, the Press-Tribune also reviewed the audits submitted by the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Caldwell Police Department and Nampa Police Department and determined all three agencies had untested sexual assault kits in custody.

In all, 165 rape kits from Canyon County law enforcement were to be submitted to a lab for testing.

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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