UTAH

Utah rape kit backlog grows 2 years after bill to address it

Dec 1, 2019, 10:14 AM
Test sample for analysis. Selective focus of a transparent petri dish with liquid in it. Photo cred...
Test sample for analysis. Selective focus of a transparent petri dish with liquid in it. Photo credit: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The backlog of untested rape kits is growing in Utah even after state lawmakers passed a law in 2017 to address the issue, in part because of a lack of funding to hire an adequate number of technicians.

The state crime lab asked for $2.4 million for 17 technicians but received $1.2 million to hire nine technicians, said Amy Lightfoot, the deputy director of the crime lab, KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City reports.

“Unfortunately, what you’re looking at there is the result of a partially funded mandate,” Lightfoot said.

The backlog sits at about 1,900 rape kits now, and it is expected to grow to 3,300 by the summer of 2020, she said. The lab receives about 120 kits each month.

She said the number of rape kits sent in has increased by 535% over the last six years.

“We take it very personally that every one of those rape kits represents a person and their story and some traumatic event,” Lightfoot said. “I don’t know that there’s anything I can say that makes that situation okay. I don’t think it’s okay.”

When Utah lawmakers passed the law to speed up rape kit testing, legislators talked about it being a high priority and called the situation an emergency.

The law set a goal for how fast each rape kit should be tested, but only eight out of 1,001 tests since then has met the deadline.

Former Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes said some bills get less money until there’s justification more money is needed.

“The fact that it was funded meant that it was a priority, it’s just that it’s competing with so many pressing needs,” Hughes said.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

draper shooting police...
Mark Jones

Party ban becomes permanent for Airbnb

Airbnb announced this week that it is placing permanent ban on disruptive parties. In April, two people died in a shooting at an Airbnb in Draper.
22 hours ago
Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
22 hours ago
A sign at Bluffdale City Hall in Bluffdale on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, encourages people to vote. Pho...
Waverly Golden

Husband of Bluffdale mayor faces charges threatening city councilman

The husband of the Bluffdale mayor is facing charges in connection to threatening and stalking a political opponent.
22 hours ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
22 hours ago
A bullet hole in a white wall. The SLCPD urges gun safety practices...
Samantha Herrera

SLCPD says an accidental gunshot almost hit an 8-year-old, offers gun safety reminder to community

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department sent out a reminder about gun safety Thursday morning following an incident earlier in the week where a gunshot reportedly traveled through an apartment wall, past an 8-year-old boy. The boy was unharmed but police urged the community to practice gun safety. The SLCPD said […]
22 hours ago
Rabies in bats....
Waverly Golden

Utah health officials confirm three cases of rabies in bats

Three cases of rabies in bats have been confirmed in Utah. In each case, pets or humans were exposed and received treatment.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah rape kit backlog grows 2 years after bill to address it