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KARE 11 Investigates: MN fails thousands of sexual assault victims

Serial rape suspects go free – and victims struggle for answers – because of botched investigations, nurse shortages, unfunded mandates and untested rape kits.
Credit: KARE 11

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers are in the process of drafting new legislation to reform how rape kits are tested and stored in Minnesota.

The action comes in the wake of a series of KARE 11 investigative reports revealing how rapists – including suspected serial predators – remain free because thousands of rape kits are still untested.

Among the findings:

  • State and local officials failed to accurately count the number of untested kits.
  • Minnesota lawmakers have failed to mandate and fund testing of all kits – even in new assaults.
  • Rape investigations are frequently flawed because of a shortage of specially trained sexual assault nurses who collect key evidence from victims.
  • Sexual assault survivors often struggle for answers about whether their kits were even tested because – unlike some other states – Minnesota has failed to establish a uniform tracking and reporting system.

Testing kits solve crimes. In Duluth, the only Minnesota city to complete DNA testing on old kits, 13 people have been charged – and five have already pleaded guilty or been convicted. What’s more, three of the Duluth case suspects have been charged with multiple rapes or sexual assaults. 

Reform proposals include a requirement to test all kits as long as the victim consents, and the creation of an online database so victims can easily track what’s happening with their rape kits.

WATCH BELOW OR CLICK HERE: A SPECIAL REPORT FROM KARE 11 INVESTIGATES  - “THE UNTESTED” 

Additional reporting:

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Sexual assault victims struggle to get answers

RELATED: Lack of trained nurses has dire consequences for victims

RELATED: BCA fails to disclose 'partially tested' rape kits

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Mpls. Police discover hundreds more untested rape kits

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Suspected serial rapists ID’d by newly tested rape kits

RELATED: Feds give Minnesota $2 million for untested rape kits

FIND HELP:

Victims of sexual assault who need help are encouraged to go to www.rapehelpmn.org to find an advocate near them.

Minneapolis sexual assault victims who have questions about their kits or the status of their case should call:

  • Vernona Boswell, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office sexual assault victim advocate, 612-348-6592.
  • Liliana, advocate at the Sexual Violence Center, 612-871-5100, ext.19 or the crisis line at 612-871-5111.

If you have a suggestion for an investigation, or want to blow the whistle on government fraud, waste, or corruption, email us at:

investigations@kare11.com