JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Within the past thirty days, all of the safe kits in Jackson County have been tested, 76 to be exact. Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert says they’re still in the process of reviewing the results and have yet to notify any of the victims.
When a sexual assault survivor seeks help, their D.N.A is collected through a sexual assault forensic evidence kit or ‘safe kit.’ Back in 2017, a survey found that over a thousand safe kits still needed to be tested in Oregon.
With the changes in law and extra grant money, Oregon is one of a few states close to eliminating their backlog.
“By catching all these old cases up…that should, hopefully, again, make the whole system work better,” said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert. “So, the new cases are going to take priority.”
The kits bring justice to survivors of sexual assault. That process is already underway with a Multnomah County man found guilty of a 2011 rape case this week. It’s the first case to go to trial as a result of the sexual assault backlog elimination project so far.
The District Attorney says she isn’t aware of any cases from the batch they tested that will result in any prosecutions in Jackson County at this time. However, the data they collected will be put in a statewide database that is accessible to law enforcement officials across the county.