LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Doubling down on his commitment to get justice for thousands of sexual assault survivors whose assault kits sat untested, sometimes for decades, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced the formation of a new cold case unit dedicated to investigate and prosecute the crimes and provide assistance to survivors.
"Now that a majority of our untested SAFE kits have been tested, this unit can begin working with local and state officials to investigate and prosecute cold cases across Kentucky,” Beshear said in a news release. “While we still have a lot of work to do, today’s announcement is a giant step forward in keeping our promise to victims, many who have been waiting years, even decades, for movement or closure on their cases.”
The new unit, which is funded by a $3 million U.S. Department of Justice National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grant, will include a seasoned investigator and prosecutor as well as a victim advocate and SAKI coordinator.
With the grant, Beshear guaranteed the testing of every outstanding sexual assault kit in Kentucky.
"Through this grant, every SAFE kit, every single one in Kentucky will be tested. Kentucky's number of untested kits by the end of this year will be zero. No exceptions and no asterisks."
Cold Case Sex Assault Unit Members
- SAKI Program Coordinator Carey Hendricks Aldridge, of Louisville, has a strong private and public sector background to protect victims. Aldridge began her career as a family advocate for a local spouse abuse program, worked for Kentucky Legal Aid to provide legal representation to indigent clients during domestic relations proceedings and joined the Hardin County Attorney’s Office as a family court prosecutor. Most recently, Aldridge worked at a law firm focused on advocating for the rights of crime victims.
- Victim Advocate Molly B. Cassady, of Louisville, served Jefferson County as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in a general trial unit prosecuting all levels of felony charges and on civil litigation, practicing family law in addition to nursing home and insurance defense, employment law and environmental law.
- Investigator Brian Sherrard, of Goshen, was a 23-year veteran officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department, where he worked 13 years as a special victims unit detective. Sherrard has vast experience in working sexual assault investigations, including serial and cold cases. He has worked on several tasks forces involving cyber-related sex crimes, human trafficking and monitoring of individuals on the sex offender registry.
- Prosecutor Dana Todd, of Frankfort, has served the citizens of the Commonwealth for over 20 years working alongside law enforcement, court officials, agency representatives, victim advocates and social services. Todd has extensive criminal trial and administrative hearings experience. She has worked as an assistant attorney general, an assistant county attorney in Jefferson County and as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Franklin County.
i-Team Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WHAS11DRose.