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Memphis gets funds to clear rape kit backlog

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City of Memphis
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP/TNS) — Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. says nearly $4 million in funds from the Department of Justice and New York City's district attorney will help the city pay for testing of 12,000 backlogged rape evidence kits.

Wharton says the city is getting a grant for about $2 million from the Justice Department and an additional $2 million from the District Attorney of New York. The funds are part of a larger grant of nearly $80 million that will  clear backlogs in 27 states.

Natasha Alexenko is a survivor of rape and waited nine years before her kit was processed.

"My hope when I went in for a rape kit was, 'OK, let's find this guy' - and then to find out that, oh my gosh, all that I went through was almost for nothing. It's not only tragic, it's disgusting.”

After the backlog was revealed in late 2013, Mayor Wharton established a sexual assault kit task force and made fundraising for testing a priority. So far, just under 7,200 kits have been tested or are awaiting testing at a lab.