PORTLAND — A new report says the elimination of Oregon’s backlog of untested rape kits has led to hundreds of new DNA profiles being added to a national database and multiple cases having been prosecuted.
The report was released this week by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York. Oregon was one of 20 states to benefit from a sweeping, $38 million grant program created in 2015 to process thousands of untested rape kits across the country.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners around Oregon worked to test 2,913 sexual assault kits under the grant program.
Through that testing, officials were able to enter 882 DNA profiles into the FBI’s national CODIS database. More than half of those profiles matched those already in the database.
So far, those DNA matches have led to six convictions across Oregon.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill joined Manhattan’s district attorney at a news conference Tuesday in New York and later spoke at a panel on legislative reform about how challenging it can be to eliminate untested rape kit backlogs.
He explained that getting funding to prioritize the testing rape kits required many conversations with legislators.
“We’re very proud of where we’ve come from and where we are now,” Underhill said.
Oregon was also one of 7 states to eliminate its backlog of untested kits.