A 2015 Minneapolis Police Department audit revealed 194 untested rape kits, but that number proved far from accurate as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Friday that there are actually closer to 1,700 untested rape kits dating back as far as 30 years.
It's unclear why so many untested kits were missed four years ago, but Frey called it an "unjustifiable mistake," while Arradondo apologized and promised that all untested kits will be tested and justice will be served.
“We have a failure in terms of auditing and processing that is unacceptable,” Arradondo said. “I very honestly stand before you to say we still don’t know why that did occur back in 2015, but moving forward I can ensure you that it will never happen again.”
According to WCCO, Lt. Mike Sauro, who led the sex crimes unit when the audit was conducted in 2015 and is now retired, doesn't believe the 1,700 untested rape kits to be an accurate number.
The auditing error was discovered this past summer, with up to 60 kits since being sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing.
A spokesperson for the Sexual Violence Center said their group is working with police to find a sensitive way to inform victims as results from the untested rape kits become available, according to the Star Tribune.
"Reporting sexual assault is an act of courage," Frey said. "We will move heaven and earth to honor the courage in pursuit of justice."
Victims of sexual assault or those trying to help victims can find useful resources through The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault.