Missoula County Attorney Explains Local Rape Kit Testing Procedures
Roughly fourteen percent of the state of Montana’s backlog of 1,400 untested rape kits are in Missoula County and according to Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst the case behind each kit has been carefully studied.
"We've gone through them very carefully with the sheriff's department and I know the city has done the same," Pabst said. "We've gone through every single one of them and they all were not tested for legitimate reasons. So it's not like they were sitting out there somewhere and someone forgot about them. They were not tested because of either the victims discontinuation or it was the investigators position that they weren't going to tell us anything we didn't already know."
Last week, the state of Montana received a two million dollar federal grant to process and investigate the 1,400 untested rape kits, which had been stored in evidence lockers across the state. Pabst says this a good thing and that current practice is to follow through with testing on every kit.
"We're certainly testing every single one of them now," Pabst said. "The reason is pretty obvious, it is that so even if a victim doesn't want to prosecute a particular perpetrator, we're taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture and saying maybe this won't answer any questions in this case, but it might answer questions about other unsolved cases."
The federal grant money will help test 40 untested rape kits kept by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department and 154 from the Missoula Police Department. Pabst says The rape kits have been kept in cold storage for preservation.