KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced a new sexual assault kit initiative on Wednesday.
Schmitt said, "In our state there are currently thousands of untested sexual assault kits just waiting to be logged."
Now, as part of a $2.8 million Bureau of Justice assistance grant, an inventory of untested kits will be created and tested.
Former Jasper County trial judge M. Keithley Williams, who will head up the initiative, shared, "Before improvements can be made in the criminal justice system, the first thing that has to happen is the admission and the acknowledgment that there's better ways to do business."
Last year, the state reportedly had 5,400 untested rape kits. Schmitt said that was only with 40 percent of the 640 law enforcement agencies and 160 hospitals across the state responding.
Julie Donelon, president and CEO of MOCSA, said, "This has been something that has been going on for years and so to see that the state of Missouri is making this a priority through writing this grant and receiving this grant, I think that's really an important message being sent to survivors in our community."
Sexual assault kits from April 29, 2018 and earlier will be tested as part of this initiative.