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NY group offers grants to reduce rape kit backlog

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July 24, 2012 01:42 PM EST | AP


GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A New York-based organization seeking to reduce a nationwide backlog of lab work for rape kits is offering grants to municipalities willing to tackle the problem.

Natasha's Justice Project says it will soon begin accepting applications nationwide. Founder Natasha Alexenko believes hundreds of thousands of kits in the U.S. might need to be analyzed.

One reason is that police sometimes do not analyze kits when a victim quickly identifies an assailant. Another reason is cost. Alexenko says her group will help pay for DNA analysis from about $125,000 in donations.

Alexenko has publicly identified herself as a rape victim. She appeared in an HBO documentary last year that detailed how her attacker was finally caught after a rape kit sat on an evidence shelf for a decade.