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District Attorney Says County’s Backlog Of Untested Sexual Assault Kits Brought Up To Date

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From the Office of District Attorney Diana Becton:

            Martinez, Calif. – Today, District Attorney Diana Becton and staff attended an event in New York City to announce the end of the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in Contra Costa County. These results come from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participation in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Elimination Grant Program, a three-year grant program to test sexual assault kits.

Our Office was one of 32 grantees funded, totaling $1,841,535 to test 1,246 kits since 2015. The testing of these kits allowed for DNA evidence to be uploaded to the national DNA databank to assist in investigations and identify offenders.

“We partnered with 24 law enforcement agencies in our community to erase the backlog of sexual assault kits in Contra Costa County. I want to express my gratitude for our partners working with our Office to end the backlog. Testing these kits can help bring closure and justice to sexual assault victims. We are going to continue working on this issue to ensure we never have a backlog in our community again,” said DA Becton.

To ease the burden of testing these kits, through this grant our Office collected the untested kits from participating agencies and sent the kits to Sorenson Forensics in Utah. The collaboration between Sorenson Forensics, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Crime Lab and our Office allowed for a more efficient process of testing these kits.

Due to state law in California, law enforcement agencies have mandated reporting timeframes to test these kits. If an agency chooses not to test they have to substantiate their reasons to the California Department of Justice. Our Office will continue to monitor the progress of all agencies in Contra Costa County to ensure state law is followed and no kits remain untested.

Overall, the Manhattan District Attorney’s program tested 55,242 kits and resulted in 18,803 DNA profiles uploaded into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Locally, the results here for our kits were:

·         1,246 kits DNA tested (1978 to 2016)

·         182 DNA profiles entered into CODIS

·         122 Confirmatory hits

·         51 Offender hits

·         8 Cases reopened for further review by law enforcement agencies

·         Full compliance of all participating agencies


  1. I love the concept of getting this done, but $1.8M and no new arrests? Is this the best use of resources? Hopefully some good will come out of the DNA database being expanded. And hopefully the broader national effort will have a better ROI. I’m sure most will say we have a moral obligation to do this, irrespective of cost or efficacy– but everything is a tradeoff. Only 16% of murders in Chicago are ever solved, for example.

    • I try to put myself in the victim’s shoes on this one. Imagine having the evidence collected from your person and then not being processed…while your assailant remains at large. If the evidence is collected I believe we have an obligation to the victim to process it.

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