Laxalt Helped Victims of Sexual Assault by Clearing Nevada's Rape Kit Backlog, Which Cortez Masto Ignored During Her 8 Years as Attorney General
RENO, NV - Today, Adam Laxalt's campaign released a new ad, 'Clean Up Her Mess,' that highlights Adam's record as Nevada's attorney general fighting for victims of sexual assault.
When Laxalt took office as Nevada's attorney general, Nevada had a backlog of over 8000 untested rape kits. Cortez Masto neglected victims of sexual assault and her duty as attorney general when she left this backlog of kits untested, despite being in office for 8 years.
However, when Adam Laxalt was elected attorney general, he cleaned up after Cortez Masto. His office eliminated the rape kit backlog. This testing led to DNA matches and arrests in the state of Nevada.
As attorney general, Adam took initiative when Cortez Masto did nothing to help victims of sexual assault. As Senator, Adam will clean up after Cortez Masto again.
"As Attorney General, Cortez Masto could have eliminated the rape kit back log, but she didn't. She ignored 8,000 untested rape kits and allowed criminals to roam the streets. When I was AG, I took action and cleared the backlog, which led to violent criminals being put behind bars," said Laxalt, "I cleaned up after Cortez Masto as attorney general and I'll do so again in the Senate."
SCRIPT: "Catherine Cortez Masto failed victims of sexual assault." "On her watch, thousands of rape kits went untested, for years." "Violent crimes – unpunished, Dangerous criminals – free, because Cortez Masto didn’t do her job." "As Attorney General, Adam Laxalt eliminated the rape kit backlog, cleaning up the mess she left." "Now, Cortez Masto is causing inflation, border chaos, rising crime." "To clean up her mess, again, vote for Adam Laxalt." "I’m Adam Laxalt and I approve this message."
The most significant mess Laxalt cleaned up as AG was Nevada’s backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits. During Cortez Masto’s time as AG, the backlog of untested rape kits grew to nearly 8,000. Some of them sat in police vaults for decades.
“[T]here is little direct evidence that she [Cortez Masto] took direct action on dealing with the backlog,” PolitiFact reported in 2016. “[T]he charge that nothing was done to reduce the backlog during her time as attorney general is accurate.”
PolitiFact also noted that Cortez Masto’s “successor, Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt, made filling the backlog a campaign pledge and was able to secure roughly $3.7 million in grants and redirected settlement funds to pay for funding the backlog about a year after taking office.”
By the end of his term, Laxalt’s tireless efforts resulted in the elimination of Nevada’s rape kit backlog and at least 13 arrests with additional warrants outstanding.
Laxalt’s work continued to yield results even after his term as AG expired. In 2020, a Las Vegas man was arrested for a sexual assault that a woman reported in 2012, when Cortez Masto was AG. “[T]he kit went untouched for six years until it was examined in September 2018 and tied months later to [the man’s] previous criminal history in Nevada,” reported the Review-Journal.
In another case, police announced in May 2019 that a 1982 murder of an unidentified woman was solved using evidence recovered from an old rape kit. "I’m so happy that they solved it because now I know more about my family," said the victim’s nephew.
In another instance, a former Las Vegas police officer was arrested in 2018 for a 1997 rape and murder after the victim’s rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016.