Minnesota gets another $2M to tackle backlog of untested rape kits

The grant has come from the Department of Justice.
Publish date:

Minnesota has been awarded a second $2 million grant to try and address its backlog of untested rape kits.

The true extent of rape kits left untested has unfolded in recent years, sparking a scandal impacting multiple police departments across the state.

A 2015 inventory identified 3,482 sexual assault kits across the state that had not been submitted for forensic testing, but the entire figure is likely to be higher given that just last month Minneapolis PD revealed it had discovered more than 1,500 untested kits in storage, which date back as long as 30 years.

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced it had received an additional $2 million from the federal Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to tackle the issue.

The money will go towards several organizations working to address the backlog, with just over $1.3 million going to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to test kits, track data and help local police with case investigations.

A little over $300,000 will go to the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault to coordinate protocol development, while the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office will get $219,020 for case investigations.

Alexandra House, a victim service provider that is providing victim advocacy services for Anoka County cases, has also received part of the grant.

"The Office of Justice Programs is proud to work with our project partners to find ways to streamline kit submissions, improve sexual assault investigations and provide support to victims across Minnesota," said OJP Executive Director Kate Weeks.

"Learning from this process, we will move toward improved policies and practices for responding to sexual assault incidents."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The federal department first issued a $2 million grant to Minnesota in 2018, sparking the creation of the Minnesota Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project.

Since then, more than 250 previously un-submitted kits have been forwarded by local police to the BCA for testing.

The money helps provide laboratory supplies and fund four BCA forensic scientists to tests the kits identified in 2015.

"This is an opportunity to gain valuable information from kits that for years have gone untested,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “Testing these kits will, in some cases, result in new information that can inform investigations and may bridge gaps in justice.”

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on MLK Day 2021?

Local government offices will generally be closed on Monday.

BMTN 900x450 (8)

Company that falsely promised student loan forgiveness banned from MN

It's also been ordered to repay $11,499 in fees taken from Minnesotans.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for January 15

Hospitalizations are the lowest in Minnesota since October 25.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.

General Mills

General Mills halts donations to Republicans who voted to block Biden win

Two Minnesota representatives voted against certification of results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

overturned semi truck

Winter storm creates whiteout conditions, closing roads and causing crashes

Roads in southwestern Minnesota were closed early Friday, while slippery conditions elsewhere in the state led to crashes and spinouts.


Hennepin Theatre Trust announces 2021-22 Broadway schedule

Health and safety protocols will be in place based on state guidance.

Tim Walz

Walz to hold press conference on MN State Capitol safety concerns

This comes amid ongoing threats to state Capitols across the country.


Joshua Dummerly

Charges: Northern Minnesota police officer raped, stalked teenager

The Warroad cop has been charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

Arradondo, Frey

'Unjustifiable mistake': There are 1,700 untested rape kits in Minneapolis

The number of untested rape kits in Minneapolis is more than 8 times larger than a 2015 audit revealed.

WI reaches out to sexual assault victims, hopes to test thousands of untouched rape kits

The key to some unsolved crimes in Wisconsin could lie in sexual assault kits lying untested on evidence shelves.

State lawmakers look to take long-awaited action on untested rape kits

The bill comes after untested and mishandled rape kits have gained attention statewide.

President Pimpin Austin

Charges: Man assaulted, raped woman he'd just met inside her car

The 28-year-old from St. Paul has been charged with 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Den Zell Gilliard

Charges: Twin Cities photographer raped 3 women over period of years

The 28-year-old has also been accused of false imprisonment and domestic assault.

Jack Zimmerman

Man gets 2 months on work release for raping classmate when he was a teen

The assault was committed just a month before his 18th birthday.