July 22, 2016
MISSOULA, Mont. - Over 10 bipartisan agencies from across the state gathered to figure out what to do with the over 1,400 untested sexual assault kits in Montana.
Friday's meeting started with a tour of the state crime lab facility to see where all evidence, like weapons and other materials, is tested.
The sexual assault task force's goal is to process the untested kits and ensure no future kits get backlogged.
The kits are up to 15 years old and mostly from cases that were not prosecuted.
The group applied for a federal grant to help test the kits or hire extra personnel. They'll know if they get that money in September, but State Rep. Kimberly Dudik (D-Missoula) says they'll have to move on to plan B if they don't.
"We do not have the statutory process as to what should happen with those kits. Regardless of whether we receive the grant, we are going to move forward with drafting legislation to deal with when kits should be submitted, when they should be processed, how victims should be notified," she said.
The task force is also faced with figuring out how to notify past victims. They are thinking of setting up an online notification system so future victims can track the progress of their testing.