Proposed NC law calls for $6M to test 15,000 backlogged rape kits

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new piece of legislation is prioritizing rape kit testing in North Carolina, according to NC Attorney General Josh Stein.

Stein held a news conference Tuesday to announce a crackdown on ending the backlog of untested rape kits in the Tar Heel state.

In 2018, state investigators learned there were more than 15,000 rape kits that had never been tested. This failure to test rape kits, in some cases, allowed sexual predators to remain free.

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North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein held a press conference to announce a new push to end the backlog of rape kits in the state.

For example, a rape that occurred in Fayetteville in 1987 did not get solved until Monday. Special funding made it possible for investigators to test the rape kit, which ultimately led to an arrest.

"Untested sexual assault kits that are on local law enforcement shelves all across North Carolina, represent one of the biggest threats to public safety we face in this state," Stein said. "Testing sexual assault kits is essential to protecting our communities."

The Survivor Act, which is being proposed by Sen. Warren Daniel, Rep. Jamie Boles, Rep. Carson Smith, Rep. Mary Belk, and Rep. Billy Richardson, would provide $6 million in funding over the next two years to help end the backlog of untested rape kits.

The proposed legislation also provides funding to the State Crime Lab to hire new forensic scientists to ensure there will be enough resources to end the rape kit backlog and prevent one from ever developing in the future.

Stein said between 800-1,000 backlogged rape kits have been tested, meaning there are about 14,000 remaining.
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