Attorney General Tim Fox announced on Thursday that his office has formed a task force to examine the issue of unsubmitted sexual-assault evidence kits in Montana.

“In the course of its investigation into an allegation of sexual assault, a law enforcement agency can request that a victim be examined for physical evidence of the assault,” Fox said. “When the investigating agency or prosecutor has determined that the evidence should be submitted to the state crime laboratory for processing, that evidence is processed by the laboratory free of charge. In recent months, across the nation we in the law enforcement community have seen growing concerns over unsubmitted evidence kits,” he said.

“We’re taking a pro-active approach here in Montana, bringing together law enforcement officials, prosecutors, victim advocates, forensic scientists, campus representatives, and more. Our goal is to determine how many unsubmitted evidence kits exist in Montana, the status of those cases, what kits that need to be tested, and then work with local law enforcement agencies and others to make it happen," the Attorney General said.

The task force will include Democratic State Representative KImberly Dudick, and Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman, along with representatives from the Attorney General's office, Chiefs of Police, Victims Advocate Groups, a certified sexual assault nurse and a college campus representative.

The task force will have its first meeting later this year.