As AG, Masto left thousands of rape kits untested. Laxalt helped clear the backlog of cases — and arrested them later.

Nevada’s former top cop now faces key Senate seat

Nevada Senate candidates Catherine Cortez Masto (D.) and Adam Laxalt (R.) / Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons

Colin Anderson September 29, 2022 at 10:00 am

With Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto serving as Nevada’s attorney general, thousands of rape cases go untested. When Adam Laxalter took over the role, the Republican Senate hoped for millions to clear the backlog, leading to more than a dozen arrests.

October 2014 — Cortez Masto’s eight-year tenure as Nevada’s top police officer is coming to an end — a national nonprofit found data collected in Las Vegas between 2004 and 2013. Of the 5,231 rape cases, only 16% were examined, and nearly 4,400 were left unexamined. Statewide, the number of untested kits reached 7,500, prompting Laxalt’s 2018 campaign promise to “clear the backlog.” Within months of taking office in 2015, Laxalt was awarded $3.7 million to do just that, and by November 2018 nearly 7,400 untested kits had been sent to labs for testing.

In some cases, testing of these kits has led to high-profile arrests. For example, in November 2020, police arrested a 49-year-old Las Vegas man on charges of sexual assault reported by a woman in 2012, Cortez Masto’s first as attorney general. five years. However, the kit from the attack was untested until 2018, when Laxalt held the office. Final inspection of the kit revealed a DNA match with the alleged attacker, who had previously been arrested for assault and domestic violence. Another backlog of rape kits tested in 2016 linked a suspect to a 1997 rape and murder.

Now, Laxalt and Cortez Masto are vying for a coveted Senate seat that could decide control of the upper house in 2023. Cortez Masto relied on her tenure as attorney general in that race — her campaign website says Democrats “keep our communities safe” and “her mission is to stand up for vulnerable women and girls. However, Cortez Masto’s inaction on Nevada’s massive rape backlog could give Laxalt an opportunity as political opponents directly compare their records at the helm of the same office.

“By doing nothing about thousands of untested sexual assault kits, Masto ignores victims and allows violent criminals and killers to prey on more people,” Laxalt told Reuters washington liberty lighthouse“Resolving this appalling failure is one of my top priorities as an AG, and we’ve turned up the slack to quickly process these kits and get justice for the victims. I’ve cleaned up her mess before, and I’m ready for the U.S. Senate.”

The campaign of Cortez Masto, who was criticized for a toolkit backlog during her first Senate race in 2016, did not respond to a request for comment. At the time, an ad for the Senate Leadership Fund noted that the “thousands of rapes” kits were never sent for DNA analysis during Cortez Masto’s tenure as attorney general. Even Cortez Masto’s media allies have corroborated the allegation – a 2016 PolitiFact article said it was “hard to find any evidence that [Cortez Masto] took on the specific issues of the state’s rape kit backlog during his tenure from 2006 to 2014,” while Laxalt “was able to receive approximately $3.7 million in grants and redirect resettlement funds to cover the backlog after about a year in office. funds. “

In addition to his negativity about Nevada’s rape backlog, Cortez Masto accepted a slew of lavish gifts as attorney general, including a $750 luxury handbag and free tickets to awards ceremonies and sporting events .Laxalt, meanwhile, has refused to accept a political gift from Nevada’s top law enforcement official, saying: “If I want to fight, I’m either going to pay or not.” Since being sworn in as a senator in 2017, Coulter has Masto’s net worth has also skyrocketed — and usa today She called Cortez Masto’s finances “relatively modest” during her 2016 campaign, and she’s now worth a whopping $7.5 million, according to her most recent federal financial disclosures.Nonetheless, Cortez Masto Say She ran for office “to serve and give back”.

Cortez Masto and Laxalt will face off in November after the two candidates advance from the June primary. Cortez Masto, often considered “the most vulnerable U.S. senator in America,” trails Laxalt by 1 percentage point in her joint fundraising request, according to a poll on Thursday by liberal think tank Data for Progress.

Leave a Comment