Reality Check: "No Idea" - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reality Check: "No Idea"

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We are bringing back our Reality Check series where we look into the claims made in political advertisements. In an ad from the Senate Leadership Fund, they question Democratic Senate candidate, and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto's record by using untested rape kits as the focal point. 
 
ANNOUNCER: "Catherine Cortez-Masto failed Nevada rape victims."

This claim is opinion. In fact, Cortez-Masto made human trafficking and sexual assault a priority during her time as Nevada Attorney General, earning her the endorsement of several law enforcement officials including former Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley.

However,  the claims made in this ad say otherwise.  

ANNOUNCER: "While Attorney General, thousands of rape kits were never sent for DNA analysis."

This is true.

According to a public records request from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, there were 4,385 rape kits that were never tested at that department, between 2004 and 2013. 
However, this same claim-- is misleading. 

According to the same public records request, kits stored at the vault that did not get analyzed, fall under several scenarios: 
The case being 'adjudicated.' 
They lack 'probative value'. In other words, it could have been consensual. 
The victim didn't press formal charges.
The kits were only collected as a "precautionary measure." 

SOUNDBITE: "Are you aware of the unprocessed rape kits?," asks Dr. Richard Siegel.  
"No I am not aware of that issue," said Cortez-Masto. "At least it hasn't come to our attention."

Though Cortez-Masto said she was not aware, Dr. Siegel wants to clarify what happened on October 21, 2014. 
 
"There is no way she would have actually been unaware," Dr. Siegel tells Channel 2 News. "She knew about the rape kits. She had been dealing with for five years by that point."

Dr. Siegel says part of the miscommunication was because he was in Carson City, while she was in Vegas. They were communicating over a video conference. He believes Cortez-Masto was under the impression Dr. Siegel was referring to an article about rape kits, not the kits themselves. The exchange was so minor, Siegel said it didn't even stand out at the time.

"Truly it is something that I would not have remembered two years later."    

ANNOUNCER: "Evidence not reviewed. Alleged rapists walking free. Unacceptable."    

Even though it is true that rape kits were not tested, this ad only speculates that these offenders are not in jail. However, it's not proven a crime was committed in the first place. 

Cortez-Masto faces Rep. Joe Heck in November. The Senate Leadership Fund is not affiliated with Rep. Heck's campaign. 

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