Indiana lawmakers advance plan to better track rape kits

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A state lawmaker said thousands of rape kits are currently sitting untested across Indiana.

On Wednesday, that same lawmaker made some headway in getting a rape kit database in place.

“We’re serious about this,” state Sen. Michael Crider, a Republican from Greenfield, said.

Crider said 5,396 sexual assault kits are sitting untested statewide.

“The whole project is designed to try to create a process where victims get justice in their case,” he added.

A statewide audit found thousands of rape kits were sitting in evidence storage at law enforcement agencies. Back in December, Crider promised to do something about the kits.

“Allowing victims to have more assurance that their kit is moving through the system,” Crider explained.

Which is why Crider introduced a bill heard in committee Wednesday morning. It would require the  statewide sexual assault response team to research rape kit testing and tracking databases, figure out which agency would manage and maintain it, and how to fund it.

“When a sexual assault examiner pulls a kit, she can scan that into the system, and we would know where that kit was,” Crider said.

It would also allow victims to know.

“Then the victim could also go in and research what’s happening with her kit,” Crider said.

Crider noted the kits average about $1,000 to process.

Kristen Pulice with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault said we are “100 percent behind sexual assault kit reform.”

“We realize the study is part of a long-term solution, and we plan and must be an active participant in reaching a solution that truly represents victims.”

In the end, the bill passed committee 10-0.

In terms of trying to put the untested kits into the system, Crider said the Indiana State Police laboratory division has told him they’re already seeing more kits being submitted for testing. Crider said his goal is to have the state research done by Dec. 1.