Iowa rolls out new system to track sexual assault test kits, nears end of backlog

By William Morris | October 22, 2020

Iowa officials are nearing the end of a backlog of untested sexual assault evidence collection kits, and are rolling out new systems to make sure future kits are analyzed on a more timely basis.

A 2017 audit by the Iowa Office of the Attorney General found agencies statewide sitting on more than 4,200 untested kits, which are used to gather physical evidence from a victim’s body and clothing after an allegation of sexual assault.

There’s a wide range of reasons the kits — some of which date back to the 1990s — were left untested, including doubt about the victim’s accusation, prosecutors not requesting an analysis and uncooperative victims, according to the 2017 audit.

The state has been working to clear that backlog and now hopes by spring of 2021 to have tested all kits from cases in which the survivor wishes to pursue an investigation, according to a spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

The hope is no survivors will have to face such a wait again. Attorney General Tom Miller on Thursday held a news conference to update Iowans on Track-Kit, a computerized evidence system launched this year to help law enforcement, health care providers and labs keep track of kits moving through the system, and allow the survivor to see the current status of their test kit.

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