Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has committed $35 million to process backlogged sexual assault evidence kits, or "rape kits," nationwide. The idea is that the kits will help solve previously unsolved sexual assaults and bring potential indictments. The $35 million is coming from the city’s $440 million share of an $8.83 billion settlement with French bank BNP Paribas S.A., which admitted to violating U.S. sanctions by moving money through New York on behalf of Sudanese, Iranian and Cuban clients.
At a press conference, activist and actress Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) praised Mr. Vance as a “hero.”
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