Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Cold Case Unit today announced the indictment of a Hardin County man for a 2011 sexual assault.
Beshear’s office began investigating the 2011 sexual assault after the Elizabethtown Police Department turned it over as cold. DNA from the case’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kit subsequently matched that from a once backlogged rape kit, which led to the indictment.
Thaddeus Artis, 37, was indicted by a Hardin County grand jury on April 11 and charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, intimidating a participant in the legal process and being a persistent felon in the first degree. The charges are Class A and D felonies.
“The victim in this case has waited the better part of a decade for justice,” said Beshear. “This case shows how important ending Kentucky’s rape kit backlog has been and how critical it is moving forward to seek justice for and support each and every victim.”
Beshear said he appreciates the assistance of multiple agencies, including the office of Hardin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young, the Elizabethtown and Radcliff police departments and the Kentucky State Police crime lab, which were instrumental in the case.
Beshear’s office assumed prosecution of the case in September 2018.
Artis will be arraigned in Hardin County on April 23 where his bond has been set at $100,000. He is currently in custody at the Marion County Detention Center on unrelated charges.
In August 2018, Assistant Attorney General Dana Todd secured the indictment of Jason Todd Langston in a 2005 sexual assault cold case that was also brought to light thanks to backlog testing. Langston’s was the first indictment resulting from the work of the cold case unit.
The Attorney General’s SAKI Cold Case Unit assists local jurisdictions at every level and is committed to building victim-centered, trauma informed practices to comprehensively reform the manner in which the Commonwealth responds to sexual assault cases.
Beshear established the unit in 2017 from a three-year, nearly $3 million U.S Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance grant. It is one of 54 SAKI sites across the country.
Seeking justice for victims of sexual assault is one of Beshear’s core missions.
In 2016, he provided $4.5 million in settlement money to lawmakers to fund crime lab upgrades requested by the Kentucky State Police and an additional $1 million to aid law enforcement and prosecutors in conducting victim-centered investigations and prosecuting sexual assault offenders.
Last fall, Beshear co-hosted a workshop for nearly 20 states handling the testing of un-submitted SAFE kits and working to investigate and prosecute these cases like Kentucky.