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Oklahoma's rape kit state task force is reinstated after brief dissolution


A state task force addressing the backlog of untested rape kits was renewed by Gov. Kevin Stitt Wednesday after it briefly dissolved due to inaction.

The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force was formed by former Gov. Mary Fallinin 2017 to help handle a backlog of untested rape kits. It had been renewed by Stitt in2019, but lapsed in January of this year after he didn’t sign a followup executive order to renew it.

Thenew order gives the task force a number of objectives related to improving rape kit testing efficiency.

The development was firstreported byThe Tulsa World. Stitt signed his most recent executive order following questions from the newspaper about the task force's dissolution.

The state task force has made a number of policy recommendations, following a 2018 audit that found more than 7,200 untested rape kits in Oklahoma.

Some of the advancements made in the wake of the task force’s creation include a statewide electronic system that allows survivors to track their kits, and directions to law enforcement that completed kits be delivered to a testing lab within 20 days, though that requirement appears to contribute to continued backlog.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.
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