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Wisconsin sexual assault kit tests yield first conviction, dating back to 2012

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AP FILE - This Feb. 8, 2017, photo, sexual assault evidence collection kit are shown during committee meeting at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. Utah crime lab officials are feeling optimistic as they work to speed up the time it takes to process sexual assault evidence kits, after lawmakers approved a measure last month that sends more than $1 million to go toward this effort. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Justice Department has won its first conviction using results from testing thousands of unanalyzed sexual assault kits.

The department announced Thursday that a Waupaca County jury convicted Leroy Whittenberger of three counts of second-degree sexual assault on Wednesday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in April 2018, Whittenberger assaulted a teenage girl in New London in 2012. The girl’s sexual assault kit was tested in 2017. The testing enabled analysts to match the offender’s DNA to Whittenberger.

Justice Department spokeswoman Gillian Drummond didn’t immediately respond to an email asking why the victim’s kit wasn’t tested sooner.

The department in 2017 began testing about 4,000 kits that had gone unexamined for decades. Thirty-five cases had been referred for charges as of July.

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