Former prosecutor praises KIYC rape kit investigation, says all kits should be tested when possible

Former Monmouth County Prosecutor Christoper Gramiccioni says the Kane In Your Corner investigation confirms what he saw firsthand until he resigned in 2021.

Walt Kane

Feb 23, 2024, 3:23 AM

Updated 53 days ago

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A former New Jersey prosecutor is praising this week's Kane In Your Corner investigation about rape kits. The investigation found three in four rape kits in New Jersey are backlogged, despite claims by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General that there is no backlog.
Christopher Gramiccioni spent a decade as the Monmouth County prosecutor. He says the Kane In Your Corner investigation confirms what he saw firsthand until he resigned in 2021.
“In a perfect world, you’d test every kit that the victim wants tested,” Gramiccioni says. “The practice, at least when I was prosecutor, is that the [New Jersey State Police] crime lab is under great stress and it just overwhelms the system.”
For years, New Jersey has insisted there is no backlog of untested rape kits. Attorney General Matt Platkin even made the claim on camera in an interview with News 12 last year. But the data, which took Kane In Your Corner nearly a year to obtain from the state, tells a very different story. It shows 74% of rape kits take longer than 30 days to test. Thirty days is the standard that the federal government uses to classify a kit as “backlogged.” Thousands of other kits go completely untested.
Thirty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia, now require all kits released to law enforcement to be tested. New Jersey is one of the handful that does not. Gramiccioni says he believes that if New Jersey can afford to test all kits, it should.
“If resources aren't an issue, then steer resources there,” he says. “You never know how that might play a role, if not in the case involving this particular victim, then those results are uploaded to the CODIS database which is shared state by state. Maybe it identifies other potential victims of sex assault across the country.”
With data showing three in four kits taking longer than 30 days to test, how can the state defend its claim that New Jersey has no backlog? NJOAG says it does not accept the federal government’s standards.
“I would really argue that the number is kind of arbitrary,” says Patricia Teffenhart, executive director of Violence Intervention and Victim Advocacy at NJOAG. “I think we have to work on defining what a backlog is in a way that really centers what survivors need, rather than like an arbitrary number, like 30 days.”
Last year, former New Jersey State Sen. Nia Gill (D – Montclair) introduced a bill that would have required New Jersey to test all kits that victims release to law enforcement, but the bill never got out of committee and Gill is no longer in office.
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