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9 charged with sexual assault as state clears rape kit backlog

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Wisconsin Attorney General says nine people have been charged with sexual assault as the state clears its rape kit backlog.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Sharain horn-Dalzin, Director of Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services.

“The information today that people are being charged and held accountable for these kits is important to remember what that must mean for someone who waited 7 or 8 years to hear that,” said Horn-Dalzin.

“In some of these cases, survivors have waited a really long time for justice,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Kaul says out of the approximately 4,500 backlogged kits, more than 1,600 had DNA that didn’t belong to the victim, triggering a follow up investigation.

So far nine have led to charges.

“I do anticipate there will be additional people charged, I don’t think it’s going to be a huge amount of additional people, but I do think there will be charges in some more cases,” said Kaul.

More than just getting justice for past crimes, Attorney General Kaul hopes it sends a signal to future survivors that people are listening.

“Making sure that these cases, which involve a serious violent crime, are prioritized, is what we are doing now and what we need to continue doing,” said Kaul.

“I think victims hear that and know that finally someone is listening and caring what happens to them as a victim of sexual assault,” said Horn-Dalzin.

The Attorney General recently introduced legislation to prevent another backlog, and the state is working with people like Horn-Dalzin to make sure this never happens again.

“If there are things that we can as a state to, as a community do to improve that speed of processing kits, I think that’s important,” said Horn-Dalzin.

The cases are spread out all over the state, including Milwaukee.

Attorney General Kaul says there are still about 300 kits still being reviewed.

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