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Maryland Releases Report on Untested Sexual Assault Kits

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Maryland’s attorney general is recommending the state create a uniform policy for when sexual assault kits would have to be tested.

The attorney general’s office released a report on untested sexual assault evidence kits Tuesday, based on data collected by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

“What we recommend is that we test rape kits, exceptions to that, but that should be the general rule, that’s not been the rule across the board in our state,” said Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Of 135 agencies, 102 responded to show there were about 3,700 untested kits statewide.

The report found that more than 90 percent of the untested kits were in the custody of 13 of the 102 responding agencies.

Baltimore City, Howard County and Montgomery County are where the bulk of the untested kits are. But the report says the survey results don’t show much about the effectiveness of the testing protocols, because each jurisdiction sets its own policy for retaining untested kits, which could result in some victims never getting justice.

“It’s good that there are some jurisdictions that are retaining them for long periods of time, but many aren’t,” said Frosh.

Baltimore County is among them. Keeping only some of their untested kits, but officials tell WJZ that will no longer be the case as they’ve now decided to hold onto all kits indefinitely, believing it will soon become the standard statewide.

 Some are kept and others thrown out.  The Maryland Attorney General says no one is to blame, but suggests it’s time to get everyone on the same page.

“I support that, I think that’s the right move to make and this is really important to make sure that every victim has an equal opportunity for justice,” said Frosh.

Organizations like the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault say it’s promoting to the see the issue addressed, but worry it’s not looking at the whole picture.

“It’s wonderful that we’re looking at untested kits, but it misses the first problem which is getting the kit done in the first place,” said Executive Director Lisae Jordan.

One recommendation also calls for an oversight committee that could address some those concerns.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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