Attorney says Boone Elementary School rape kit stuck in backlog

Hundreds of parents gathered at Boone Elementary to discuss concerns regarding a sexual assault allegation. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An attorney representing the family of the 4-year-old girl they say was sexually assaulted at Boone Elementary School, says the rape kit in still in a backlog. They have not been made aware of any results.

Attorney Paul Guinn told KXAN he has not been contacted by the district attorney’s office or APD regarding any results, further supporting the family’s argument the case was closed too soon.

Guinn said it was when AISD officials, including Chief Eric Mendez met with Boone Elementary School parents last week regarding the sexual assault allegation that it was revealed the kit is part of the backlog.

In February, KXAN learned there are nearly 3,300 sexual assault cases waiting to undergo DNA testing. Austin Police say that’s 80 percent of the backlog.

“In a case like this where we’re dealing with such a young child, it’s my hope that someone could fast-track this SANE or rape kit,” Guinn said.

Thursday, Austin City Council approved an $865,706 amendment to a contract with Seton, doing business as Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, to provide continued sexual assault medical forensic examination services for children.

In 2016, 392 examinations were performed at Dell Children’s Medical Center, a number said to be growing.

City staff write, “The additional funding amount requested is based on increased use of the services and a change in the law enforcement reimbursement schedule for costs associated with forensic sexual assault examinations through the OAG.”

City staff reported that a delay or failure to approve the contract amendment would have limited the Austin Police Department’s ability to pay for future services for victims of sexual assault.

A law enforcement agency that requests a medical exam for a survivor must pay all the costs and they are typically reimbursed by the Attorney General’s Office later. But the fees are rising.

According to city documents, a specialized Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner physician fee is going up to $233. A service fee was added. And both facility and lab fees were increased by $100, prompting APD to ask for more funding from the city.

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