Cold case unit for victims of sexual assault created


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office has announced it has created a new unit focused on sexual assault cold cases.

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced the newly created unit Tuesday in Frankfort.

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Beshear says now that a majority of the state’s backlogged sexual assault kits have been tested, the new unit will begin working with local and state officials to investigate and prosecute sexual assault cold cases across the state.

According to the attorney general, the unit was funded by a $3 million U.S. Department of Justice National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant awarded to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and will include a victim advocate, investigator, prosecutor and a SAKI coordinator from the three-year U.S Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance funding.

The funding will also cover the cost to test any remaining untested sexual assault forensic exam or SAFE kits, mainly boomerang kits, ones that were sent to the Kentucky State Police crime lab, not tested for various reasons then returned to law enforcement agencies.

Beshear said with the grant paying for the testing of up to 1,500 additional SAFE kits, it means every kit in Kentucky will be tested without exception.

It also allows funding for an extra Kentucky State Police cold case unit sexual assault detective.

The SAFE Act of 2016 (Senate Bill 63) ensures the submission of all SAFE kits, requires police receive training to conduct victim-centered sexual assault investigations and sets timelines for testing kits.