Back Print

ANALYSIS: Decorah Police have 39 untested sexual assault evidence kits. Here's why

Posted: Thu, Mar 9, 2017 4:22 PM

The Iowa Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division made news early this week when it released a report that concluded there were 4,265 untested sexual assault evidence kits held in storage by the state's law enforcement agencies.

39 of those kits are being held by the Decorah Police Department, with some dating back 15 years.  Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon says there are a number of reasons for not sending in the kits for testing.

In some cases, the suspect pleads guilty immediately and the evidence is not needed in court.  In other cases, the victim decides not to file charges.  Nixon says a few cases even can involve someone from outside Decorah who visited Winneshiek Medical Center for testing in connection with a possible sexual assault outside Decorah.

All 39 of the sexual assault evidence kits in Decorah are still being stored at the Decorah Police Department.  Nixon says it would be good if the Iowa Attorney General's Office came up with statewide standards for how to handle such evidence.

Nixon stresses that the Decorah Police Department takes any report of sexual assault seriously and investigates all such reports.