Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says a new unit in his office is focused solely on investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cold cases.
A backlog of more than 3,000 untested rape kits has nearly been cleared. According to www.kentuckybacklog.com, 3,173 kits have been tested, and as of November 28, 2017, 415 DNA profiles had been submitted to a national database that produced 174 links to convicted felons.
Attention is now shifting to bringing closure to victims, some of whom have waited decades.
In a news conference Tuesday, Beshear said the cold case team consists of a victims advocate, investigator, and prosecutor.
“Those who had no one to speak for them or seek justice for so long now will have a dedicated unit who work day after day on their cases," Beshear stated. "It’s truly justice.”
The cold case unit is funded through a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The grant will also cover the cost of testing about 1,500 so-called boomerang kits, ones that were sent to the Kentucky State Police crime lab, not tested for various reasons, then returned to law enforcement agencies. Those 1,500 were in addition to the 3,000 untested rape kits discovered in a 2015 state audit.
Beshear vowed that there would be no untested rape kits in Kentucky by the end of the year.
The new cold case team includes:
Victim Advocate Molly Cassady of Louisville, former assistant commonwealth's attorney for Jefferson County
Investigator Brian Sherrard of Goshen, a 23-year veteran officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department
Prosecutor Dana Todd of Frankfort, former assistant attorney general and assistant commonwealth's attorney in Franklin County