Thousands of children provided evidence of possible sexual assaults to Wisconsin police agencies and hospitals that was never sent to state crime labs for testing, reports the USA Today Network. About one-third of Wisconsin’s untested rape kits involve possible child victims. State authorities estimated in 2014 that 6,000 rape kits were sitting in local police and medical facilities. The evidence was never sent to state labs for testing. As of August, the tally of kits involving child sexual assault allegations was at least 2,441.
Of the more than 2,000 kits from possible child victims, state authorities have scheduled 62 percent for testing this year or next year at private labs. Law enforcement authorities hope the effort, funded by grants, will help identify and prosecute serial rapists. Attorney General Brad Schimel believes kits could be legally tested without victim consent, but that would violate privacy rights. State records paint a troubling picture of how law enforcement authorities responded to thousands of reported sexual assaults stretching back decades. Many kits were never sent to labs because police declined to pursue investigations or because prosecutors declined to pursue charges. Those two scenarios explain nearly 42 percent of Wisconsin’s rape kits backlog, including more than 1,000 kits involving possible child victims and more than 900 kits involving possible crimes against young adults.