State and local officials say near end of rape kit backlog

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The backlog of Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kits – also known as rape kits – in Oregon is within a year of being eliminated following the passage of a state law mandating quicker testing and additional funding, officials say.

The kits are used to collect biological material like blood, hair, and semen during exams following reported sex crimes. As of late 2015, the Oregon State Police said it had counted a statewide backlog of more than 5,600 awaiting testing. In 2016, legislators passed the measure intended to speed up processing, but by 2017 state police said their backlog had actually increased.

The state patrol and Multnomah County now say that kits are being processed by state labs quickly and labs inside and out of the state are within months of completing testing on thousands of older, warehoused kits that had built up in police custody since 1983. Less than 2,000 are likely left statewide.