Montana received a large federal grant aimed at supporting the state’s response to sexual assault investigations and prosecutions.
The Montana Attorney General’s Office announced the $2.1 million allocation last week. The money will go toward re-testing backlogged sexual assault kits to expedite criminal investigations. It will also pour resources into resolving cold cases involving sexual violence, according to a news release from the AG’s office.
Three positions will be created or continued within the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative program (SAKI), including a cold case investigator, a crime analyst and a coordinator. Overtime for forensic scientists working at the State Crime Lab and renovation of kit storage for local agencies to preserve the integrity of DNA evidence are also included under the umbrella of funding.
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“We will intensify our efforts in solving sexual assault cases and bringing justice to survivors with this new funding, bolstering our Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, employing specialized personnel to investigate crimes, and upgrading evidence storage around the state,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said in the news release. “Ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable and survivors can find healing is a