FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Alaska has hired a sexual-assault investigator to assist in chipping away at the state’s backlog of nearly 3,500 untested rape kits.

The Daily News-Miner reported Thursday that retired Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Michael Burkmire will begin work at Alaska’s Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Burkmire ran the State Trooper’s Child Abuse Unit in the Mat-Su Valley before retiring.

He will go through the backlog and investigate previously unsolved cases related to sexual assault and sexual violence.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report says that nearly 60 percent of Alaska women report having experienced sexual violence in their lives.

The issue has caught the eye of legislators, prompting democrat state Rep. Geran Tarr to introduce a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to report their number of untested rape kits to the state every year.

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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