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Montana Receives Federal Grant To Aid In Unsolved Rape Cases

Dr. Phil Kinsey, director of the Montana State Crime Lab, explains rape kit testing protocols to the task force.
Mara Silvers
Dr. Phil Kinsey, director of the Montana State Crime Lab, with members of Montana's Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Task Force in July

Montana is getting a $2 million federal grant to help clear its backlog of so-called rape kits.

Attorney General Tim Fox made the announcement today. He says it will allow the state crime lab to process 1,100 boxes of evidence in sexual assault cases dating back to 1995. Testing the kits could result in suspects being identified in some unsolved rape cases.

Tim Fox says, “We look forward to ensuring unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Montana are tested, to help bring closure to a horrific event in the lives of survivors, to serving justice to perpetrators, and to protecting our citizens.”

In December, Montana’s Department of Justice surveyed local law enforcement agencies and found they had 1,400 untested evidence kits.

The FBI is going to test 300, and the grant announced today will allow the state to send the remaining 1,100 to outside labs for testing.

It’s expected that it will take up to 18 months to test all the kits.

Fox says four people will be hired as part of the three-year project.

Grant money also will be used to produce a field guide outlining policies and procedures for sexual assault investigations.

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