Committee Approves Rape Kit Reform

Feb 12, 2019

Senator Affie Ellis shows the House Judiciary Committee a rape kit during testimony on Monday.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that would change the way Wyoming handles rape kits or sexual assault biological evidence kits is moving to the House floor.

The bill sponsored by Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis requires law enforcement to indicate how many rape kits are in their possession, requires that rape kits not be destroyed without a court order and requires the state to cover the costs of the medical exam.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Erin Rumsey of Laramie told the House Judiciary Committee that resolving the cost issue is important in getting victims to come forward.

"It takes away a lot of the confusion, it'll be easier for a lot of them to report when they know they don't have to worry about money. The majority of our victims are about 18 to 26. We all know college age students don't have a lot of money and often times this is such a personal crime that they don't want to their parents to know about it. They report…they want help," Rumsey said.

Matt Redle who represents prosecutors in the state told the committee that not disposing of rape kits is useful in catching serial rapists. The bill was unanimously approved by the Committee and heads to the House floor.