FDLE: Three Years After First Report, Rape Kit Backlog All Clear

Sep 20, 2019

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says its done processing more than 8,000 untested rape kits. The announcement comes three years after a state assessment first revealed the backlog. 

Some 8,023 sexual assault kits were processed and results run through a database shared by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. That database compared DNA profiles and it resulted in more than 1,800 matches--linking crimes to each other and to known sex offenders.

"Not all hits are actionable," the FDLE noted in a press release. "An 'actionable hit' is a match to the DNA database that provides new information to the investigation."

When the problem was first revealed three years ago, there were nearly 13,500 untested rape kits across the state. The Tampa Bay Times reported state estimators put the cost to process all the kits at $30 million and said it could take eight years to get through the backlog.

The push for testing was led by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and jump-started with a 2016 law that made the testing of rape kits a requirement.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment and I am grateful to FDLE and all our law enforcement partners who worked diligently to eliminate the backlog of previously untested sexual assault kits,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody in a statement. “Not only was the backlog eliminated, procedures were adopted and advances made in an effort to prevent future backlogs.”

She's now warning about at-home rape kits, saying they're not admissable in court. 

At the time of the initial report, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement noted two main reasons kits went untested. Either the victim who reported the crime didn’t participate in the investigation or the state attorney declined to prosecute.