Md. attorney general calls for statewide guidelines for rape kits

WASHINGTON — DNA collected after a sexual assault can be a valuable tool in crime solving, but sexual assault evidence kits, often called rape kits, sometimes go untested.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is recommending new statewide guidelines for testing and storing rape kits.

“We have three principle recommendations — first, that the rule is that kits be tested. There are exceptions to that, but generally every kit should be tested. Second, the kits should be retained, for 20 years or the statute of limitations, whichever is shorter. And third, victims should be notified first that the kit has been tested and second what the results are,” Frosh said.

Across the state, police departments have different policies for testing and maintaining rape kits. Some departments destroy untested rape kits, others hold on to them for various periods of time. Frosh is asking the Maryland General Assembly to develop uniform guidelines for all departments.

Maryland is among a growing number of states focusing attention on untested rape kits, which Frosh says are an untapped resource in crime solving.

“There are folks who commit multiple sexual assaults, and they may be among the folks whose DNA is in these untested kits,” Frosh said.

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