Report: Rape kit tests delayed hundreds of active cases

MADISON — A new report shows the state crime labs' efforts to review tests of unanalyzed rape kits delayed more than 300 active cases last year.

The state Department of Justice report on crime lab performance found the labs took in 8,626 cases for DNA testing in 2018 and completed work on 5,664 cases. That compares with 5,311 incoming cases and 4,782 completions in 2017.

DOJ in 2016 began testing thousands of unanalyzed sexual assault kits sitting on police and hospital shelves. Private labs perform the tests but the report says a team made up of more than half of the state labs' DNA analysts must review the results.

The team spent more than 4,850 hours on the sexual assault kit project in 2018 alone, causing delays in nearly 350 active cases.