The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office today released the review results of nearly 400 untested Sexual Assault Examination Kits or SAEKs. The review comes after an Indiana State Police audit of untested kits in every county in December 2017.
The St. Joe County Prosecutor’s Office determined there were a total of 414 cases that included an untested kit, some of the kits were not associated with sexual assault cases at all. Of the 414 kits the Prosecutor’s Office reviewed, 331 of them kits were not sent out for what prosecutors deemed “legitimate reasons,” including victims who decided to not proceed with charges, or there was no evidence that sexual assault had occured.
However, St. Joe County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said 83 of the 414 kits, some of which date back to the 90s, were never sent out for testing, due to a variety of reasons, including mislabeling, or cases not being forwarded to the proper department. About 40 cases did not have a reason for not being sent.
Cotter said the audit conducted by the Indiana State Police was helpful to St. Joe County, showing a failure in the system.
“And that failure was to ensure that none of these cases slip through the cracks,” said Cotter, “Because that’s exactly what happened, I don’t find that there was any ill-will from any of the officers involved, I don’t find that there was any ill-will that I just don’t want to do my job, it was just frankly, that people make mistakes.”
Cotter said all of the the 83 kits that weren’t tested have been sent to a laboratory for testing, and will be reviewed to determine if further action or prosecution is necessary.