Hundreds of sexual assault kits remain untested

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KHON2 is getting a better idea of how many sexual assault kits are still waiting to be tested.

This, after a new law is forcing police departments to be more transparent with that information. That sparked a new law that requires all law enforcement agencies to keep track of that evidence and turn it in to the attorney general’s office.

Earlier this year, lawmakers were shocked when they found out hundreds of untested kits have been sitting at the Honolulu Police Department’s crime lab for years.

Some of the kits date back to 1999. KHON2 is learning more about the numbers of kits that still haven’t been tested.

On Kauai, the police department says 151 sexual assault kits are still untested, but they’re working with a third party lab out of Utah.

For Hawaii Island dating back to 2001, there are a total of 369 kits with 309 left untested.

In Maui County, out of 166 total kits, 16 were tested, while 152 kits remain untested to this day.

Senator Will Espero — a supporter of the law — says it’s good to see progress is being made. “It never should have gotten to the point where the legislature had to ask them to act and update their records as soon as possible. However, I am very happy to hear that we are making significant progress. There could be some serial rapists out there that could be caught with the information on these kits.”

The Honolulu Police Department has yet to submit its numbers to the attorney general. But a spokesperson said the HPD plans on submitting a final count soon.

At last check in February, the department had nearly 1,500 untested sexual assault kits.

The U.S. Department of Justice also awarded the state a $2 million grant to help with testing of the kits, as well as the management, tracking, and victim notification.

Once the attorney general has all the numbers, it’ll submit a final report to lawmakers in December.

For a look at the report, click here.

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