The Massachusetts State Police and the District Attorney's Office of Bristol County, Massachusetts, jointly used their FY2018 $2-million SAKI grant to address the county's sexual assault kits (SAKs) that have been partially tested or DNA tested with antiquated technology; separate statewide legislation allows for testing of all unsubmitted SAKs.
This funding allowed for a site coordinator to assist with a SAK inventory and submit the SAKs to a crime laboratory; eligible DNA profiles were then uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Massachusetts hired a victim witness advocate and established a task force over the initial 6 months to ensure a comprehensive, victim-centered plan. Ultimately, the program will be replicated in all Massachusetts counties.
In FY2020, the Massachusetts Office of Grants and Research was awarded $1.5 million to continue efforts from the FY2018 award in the state of Massachusetts. This new funding will be utilized to test the remaining SAKs and follow up with subsequent case investigation and prosecution. Appropriate criteria will be entered into both CODIS and the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program databases. Additionally, the state plans to hire a cold case investigator, an assistant district attorney, and two victim advocates.
For more information on the specific SAKI awards for this site, see the table below.
|Massachusetts State Police/Bristol County District Attorney's Office|
|FY2018||$2,000,000||Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits|
|Massachusetts Office of Grants and Research|
|FY2020||$1,500,000||Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits|
Please direct all media inquiries to:
State of Massachusetts makes progress processing untested rape kits
The Salem News, Feb 16, 2023
A recent report from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security suggests the State Police Crime Lab has made progress testing more than 6,500 so-called sexual assault evidence collection kits that were determined to require review under a 2021 law intended to reduce the backlog.
BPD Sexual Assault Kit Initiative leads to the arrest of alleged rapist
The Dorchester Post, Jan 14, 2023
"On January 9, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., Boston police officers arrested Demetrius Wilson, 57, on three outstanding warrants for charges including rape, assault and battery, intimidation of a witness, and unarmed robbery. The warrants were issued by Suffolk Superior Court, Dorchester District Court, and Middlesex Superior Court. The arrest was made possible through the use of a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (SAECK) in the investigation, and detectives are continuing their investigation which may result in further charges."
Attleboro man indicted for the 2001 rape of a 13-year-old girl in Fairhaven
NBC 10 News, Dec 14, 2022
"An Attleboro man has been indicted for the 2001 rape of a 13-year-old girl in Fairhaven. He was connected to the rape by DNA found in a previously untested rape kit. A Bristol County Grand Jury indicted 37-year-old Patrick Avila on a charge of rape of a child with force. This is the latest charge brought on by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office’s Untested Rape Kit Initiative."
DA Quinn’s untested rape kit initiative leads to arrest in 1994 Bristol County rape case
Fall River Reporter, Nov 17, 2022
"Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn’s Untested Rape Kit Initiative has resulted in another arrest connected to a decades old case involving a previously untested rape kit. 48-year-old Eduardo Mendez was apprehended Tuesday night in New York City on an arrest warrant issued by BCDAO for the 1994 violent rape of a woman in Attleboro."
Untested rape kit initiative leads to indictment of 2012 New Bedford rape defendant
NewBedfordGuide.com, Aug 29, 2022
“Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn’s Untested Rape Kit Initiative has resulted in the indictment of 28-year-old Dylan Ponte for the cold case rape of a 16-year-old girl in New Bedford in July of 2012."
How finally testing a 2010 rape kit led to charges in New Bedford case
Audrey Cooney, heraldnews.com, May 6, 2022
"A rape kit that sat untested for 12 years provided a key clue for police in finding a suspect who is now being charged for his alleged role in a violent rape. "I am extremely pleased that our rape kit testing initiative has already resulted in indictments against this defendant for a cold case violent sexual assault committed more than a decade ago in New Bedford,"" Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn said in a statement."
New system lets survivors track rape kits
SHIRA SCHOENBERG, CommonWealth, Jan 29, 2020
Massachusetts is rolling out a new system that will allow survivors of sexual assault to track online the processing of evidence collected from them at hospitals following an assault.
Massachusetts makes $8 million investment to collect and test rape kits as Gov. Charlie Baker signs budget bill
Melissa Hanson, MASS Live, Apr 1, 2019
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a supplemental budget to inventory and test all sexual assault kits in police custody.
House Approves Jones' Initiative Funding Rape Kit Testing
Bob Holmes, Patch, Feb 27, 2019
The House of Representatives for Massachusetts approved $8 million for the State Police Crime Laboratory to help pay for the collection and testing of sexual assault kits to supplement their $2 million SAKI grant.
Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative aims to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases. Through this program, funding is provided to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.