Sex assault task force created in Johnson City

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – A sexual assault task force has formed in Johnson City in an effort to improve services for victims.

The idea for the panel came from a conversation between police Chief Mark Sirois and resident Ruth Read, who created Women Matter Northeast Tennessee last year in an unsuccessful effort to fight an abortion amendment. Read and members of Women Matter were looking for another issue to focus on, which led to discussions with Sirois about untested rape kits that the department has stored.

Read and Sorois agreed to create the 11-member panel in an effort to improve victim services. The panel is also working on prevention measures and improving communication among various agencies.

Read told The Johnson City Press ( that the task force has already identified resources to help victims and is working on others.