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Arrest in 2010 case highlights backlog of untested rape kits in Massachusetts

Arrest in 2010 case highlights backlog of untested rape kits
Arrest in 2010 case highlights backlog of untested rape kits 02:17

FALL RIVER - Scott Trudeau will remain held without bail, dialing into a Fall River courtroom for his dangerousness hearing Tuesday. It's a step towards justice 12 years in the making.

A federal grant allowed the Bristol County District Attorney's Office to run hundreds of untested rape kits and 47-year-old Scott Trudeau's DNA was <a href="">their first match</a>. It cracked open a cold case from March 2010.

"If the rape kit had been fully tested, it would've been a hit or a connection in 2015," DA Thomas Quinn said outside of Fall River District Court.

Quinn believes this will be the first of many indictments, highlighting the backlog of untested rape kits that have gone untouched for months if not years - delaying justice.
"The impact to survivors can be devastating," said rape crisis counselor Kim Dawkins.

Dawkins runs Pathways for Change in Central Mass. and says in that region alone, about 2,000 untested rape kits have been sitting on a shelf. Many times, victims don't know that they haven't been processed.

"It can range anywhere from anger, frustration," Dawkins explained. "Actually, if you think about it from a survivor perspective it can be triggering for them."

Emotions, she said, that Trudeau's victim must be feeling more than a decade after the alleged attack. Those details were read aloud in court.

"She had pleaded with them not to do this," the prosecutor told the judge. "That one individual forcibly had intercourse with her."

Perhaps change is coming. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill sent $8 million to the state crime lab to alleviate this backlog.

Rep. Natalie Higgins, a sexual assault survivor and former rape crisis counselor, has been fighting to secure more funding.

"The state has a duty to rebuild trust here. We failed survivors. We didn't treat their evidence with the care and respect it deserved and we have to fix it," Rep. Higgins (D-4th Worcester) said.

Trudeau will remain in custody until a judge decides whether he can be released on bail pending his trial. 

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