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Minneapolis police: Hundreds of previously unknown sexual assault kits have gone untested

Updated: November 15, 2019 07:28 PM

Minneapolis city and police officials, as well as victim advocates, discussed the new discovery of hundreds of untested sexual assault kits Friday.

According to Minneapolis police officials, an audit was done on sexual assault kits in 2015, reporting the number of untested sexual assault kits at 194.

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However, a recent investigation found that number to be around 1,700 untested kits.

The kits date back over 30 years, according to the Minneapolis police.

MPD doesn't know why this mistake happened because it involved prior administration. 

"This is certainly an area that we're going to learn from," said Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Police Department. 'We had a failure in terms of the auditing process of those kits, that is unacceptable."  

"We determined very quickly through our analysis that that wasn't accurate," said Deputy Chief Erick Fors about the previous number of known untested kits.

Now through a partnership with the Minneapolis Sexual Violence Center, work is underway to notify all the survivors of this error.

"This will be an impact to 1,700 individuals, so we're looking forward to supporting them through this process," said Kenosha Davenport, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Sexual Violence Center. 

"It's a sinking, awful feeling knowing that people are going to be getting those phone calls, and they're going to have to deal with the fact of knowing all these years later that their kit was never tested," said Abby Honold, survivor and survivor advocate. 

While Honold is not surprised by this number, she remains frustrated.

"It's a pretty blatant lack of respect shown to not actually inventory all of those kits," Honold said.

With the help of additional analysts at the BCA, officials estimate it could take two years to test all 1,700 kits. Police stress a new victim centered approach will prevent this from ever happening again.

"The culture has changed, we recognize we have an obligation, we have a debt to have these kits tested," Deputy Chief Fors said.  

MPD stresses while they still don't know how this happened they are continuing to investigate. Since they discovered this error, they've sent nearly 80 kits already to the BCA.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he's agreed to help MPD by funding an additional DNA analyst position at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to expedite the testing of the kits.

Anyone with questions about the untested kits and the investigation into their assault can contact:

Vernona Boswell, Hennepin County Attorney's Office sexual assault victim advocate, at 612-348-6592.

Liliana, advocate at the Sexual Violence Center, 612-871-5100, ext.19 or the crisis line at 612-871-5111.

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