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Kentucky to use rapid DNA tests for sex assault cases

Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 15:47:30-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky authorities say the state will start using rapid DNA testing for sexual assault investigations.

Authorities said Wednesday that the rapid DNA system has proven successful at identifying suspects within hours. For the last several months, Kentucky State Police forensics' laboratories have piloted use of the system.

Officials say the new technology generates a DNA identification from forensic samples in less than two hours.

Watch the full news conference in the player below:

Gov. Matt Bevin and state Justice Secretary John Tilley were among officials announcing the new testing system. Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders says almost 2,000 sexual assaults are reported in the state every year. He says it's estimated that nearly twice that amount go unreported.

“If you are a sexual predator in the state of Kentucky, we’re going to come after you,” Sanders said.

Results can be used to come up with suspects or to prove the innocence of people who are falsely accused, Sanders said, and he said he hopes the technology will help decrease sex crimes across the state while helping to alleviate the backlog.

Lab Director Laura Sudkamp said rapid DNA is important because sometimes victims step out of the process before they receive results. She also said officials are going through the process slowly to ensure there aren’t discrepancies.

“When there’s new technology out there and we want to roll it out, forensic science is extremely cautious in how you do that and get that data,” Sudkamp said.

Sudkamp said officials will present data to the FBI that includes results from conventional testing and rapid DNA testing.