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Effort to clear rape kit backlog leads to arrest in 2010 New Bedford case

An initiative by a Massachusetts district attorney to clear a backlog of more than 1,100 untested rape kits from his jurisdiction has resulted in an indictment in a 2010 sexual assault, authorities said Friday.

It is the first time someone has been indicted since Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn launched the Untested Rape Kit Initiative with a federal grant nearly three years ago.

A 47-year-old suspect is facing charges of aggravated rape and assault and battery in connection with the 2010 attack on a 23-year-old woman in New Bedford, according to a statement from Quinn's office.

The victim submitted to a sex assault evidence collection kit at the time, but it was never fully tested. It was finally tested in February and resulted in the discovery of DNA that matched the suspect, authorities said.

The district attorney's office is now in the process of getting more than 1,100 kits tested by a private lab using the federal grant.

“This case demonstrates the importance of fully testing all sexual assault kits. If we did not obtain the grant to have all these kits fully tested, this case never would have been solved and the statute of limitations would have expired,” Quinn said in a statement.

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