Kentucky to use rapid DNA tests for sex assault cases

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - Kentucky authorities say the state will start using rapid DNA testing for sexual assault investigations.

Authorities said Wednesday that the rapid DNA system has proven successful at identifying suspects within hours. For the last several months, Kentucky State Police forensics' laboratories have piloted use of the system.

Gov. Matt Bevin and state Justice Secretary John Tilley were among officials announcing the new testing system. Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders says almost 2,000 sexual assaults are reported in the state every year. He says it's estimated that nearly twice that amount go unreported.

Officials say the new technology generates a DNA identification from forensic samples in less than two hours.

"This is not just a big step for Kentucky. This is a huge step everywhere," said Michelle Kuiper, a survivor and advocate. "You're not having to wait days, weeks, decades. Like in my case, 17 years for an offender to be caught, who was a serial."

Sister station WKYT reports the lab director of the program plans to ask Governor Matt Bevin to fund 12 machines, which would cost $3 million, if the pilot program is successful. Bevin said the money would be there if it is the right thing to do.

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