At the direction of the legislature, the BCA compiled an inventory of untested sexual assault kits, identifying 3,482 sexual assault kits being held at local law enforcement agencies. Agencies said sexual assault kits had not been submitted for testing because the suspect confessed; the act was deemed consensual; prosecution was declined; the victim decided not to proceed; it was an anonymous report, and other reasons. The BCA developed a tiered testing proposal for the legislature, taking into consideration the impact on current sexual assault case evidence testing needs.
The Duluth Police Department obtained SAKI grants in 2015 & 2016 and began submitting its sexual assault kits to the BCA for testing. That testing process is complete.
The Office of Justice Programs was awarded a $2 million, three-year SAKI grant from BJA to begin testing other Minnesota agency sexual assault kits using a tiered approach that prioritized agencies with the most sexual assault kits reported in the 2015 inventory. The grant allowed for half of the funding to cover testing and the other half for sexual assault investigations, protocol development and victim advocacy. Work on the grant started in early 2019.
The Office of Justice Programs was awarded a second $2 million, three-year SAKI grant from BJA to continue sexual assault investigations, victim advocacy and sexual assault kit testing.
Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) – Biological samples and information collected by trained personnel from the victim of a sexual assault. This can include bloodstains, swabs of the victim’s body, combings, foreign matter, and information about the nature of the assault obtained from the victim.
Forensic sample – Biological specimen obtained from evidence (e.g. clothing, the scene, the victim’s body). This sample could belong to the victim, their spouse or consensual partner, the perpetrator, or someone else.
Known sample – Biological specimen obtained through a warrant or voluntarily from the victim, her/his spouse/consensual partner, the unknown perpetrator, or someone else. It is collected for the purpose of comparing to the forensic sample. For example, a forensic sample that matches the known sample from the victim or their spouse can be eliminated as a possible lead in the case.
Restricted sexual assault kit – A restricted sexual assault kit is one where the victim has not given consent for it to be tested.
Unrestricted sexual assault kit – An unrestricted sexual assault kit is one where the victim has given consent for it to be tested.
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) – CODIS is a national database of several indexes including DNA profiles of convicted offenders, profiles developed from evidence in solved and unsolved crimes, and profiles developed for the identification of missing persons.
Convicted offender DNA collection – Minnesota Statutes section 609.117 requires all felony-level offenders to provide a biological specimen for the purpose of DNA analysis and the DNA profile must then be uploaded into CODIS.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2018-AK-BX-0019 and 2019-H0882-MN-AK awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.