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City seeks contract to address rape kit backlog

Caleb James
September 15, 2017 05:50 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Nearly 4,000 rape kits in Albuquerque remain untested, according to the city's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. In December 2016, the New Mexico State Auditor's office announced the untested rape kits sat untouched inside Albuquerque evidence lockers.

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Nearly a year since the announcement, the Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Collective, or SANE, says not a single kit has been tested. The top sexual assault medical resource says it needs funding.

The city is proposing a subsidy of $135,000 to the group of on-call sexual assault nurses, part of an annual contract. It pays the executive director's $55,000 salary and helps to fund nurses who respond to sexual assaults. But it won't even begin to address the group's expected role in the rape kit crisis.

The group's executive director tells KOB it will cost the state millions of dollars to test the backlogged kits, but her organization alone will have to find $75,000 to hire a dedicated counselor who will only make about $45,000 in salary.

The rest of the money needed will go toward travel to fund thousands of in-person contacts with victims once those kits are actually tested.

The timeline for that testing is up in the air for now, but the SANE director said they will likely be involved in that process if they can find the money to fund the positions needed. 

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Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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