Montana Receives $2 Million Grant to Test 1,400 Rape Kits
The state of Montana has received two million dollars in grant money from the federal government to test and follow up on 1,400 untested rape kits that have been kept in evidence lockers across the state. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says a bidding process is underway to find a lab to process the kits.
"There are so many of these that we can't submit them to the Montana Crime Lab in Missoula because they don't have the personnel," Fox said. "We are fortunate because the FBI will take as many as 300 of these kits and test them at no cost to the state. Ultimately, about $800,000 of the grant money will be used for testing and review."
Most of the remaining 1.2 million dollars will go toward personnel to help the state follow up on the tests findings. Fox says a victim’s advocate will be hired, as well as an investigator.
"Once we have all the kits tested we anticipate that there will be some cold cases that come up, that will need to be investigated," Fox said. "There will be a sexual assault investigator in the Division of Criminal Investigation that will be hired, whose job it will be to look at and investigate these cases."
All in all, Fox expects the process to take about three years. Because of statute of limitations issues, the oldest rape kits will be tested first, Fox says they have one kit in inventory that dates back to 1995.