The trial for a Mobile County man charged with sexually assaulting a child is now underway.

According to court documents, Roderick Williams, who is already serving a life sentence, began his trial on Monday for sexual assault of a child of unspecified age. 

On July 21, 2021, Williams received a life sentence after pleading guilty to a 1998 sexual assault of a minor. Now he is facing new charges of sexual assault of a minor. 

Williams’ arrest came after a campaign from Mobile County to address their backlogged sexual assault kits (SAKs), also called rape kits. 

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) is a joint community program that uses federal funds from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to distribute grants to law enforcement to process cold-case or backlogged SAKs. 

SAKs are a structured series of tests and collections that are done to collect forensic evidence after a person has been sexually assaulted. 

Williams was the first arrest and the second conviction in Mobile County related to the SAKI program after law enforcement in the county received over $1 million in grant money. 

“The goal of this grant program is to address the growing number of unsubmitted SAKs in law enforcement custody, and to help provide resolution for victims when possible,” the SAKI website says. “There is broad consensus that this must be accomplished through a comprehensive approach to the problem. Grant funding may be used to inventory the existing numbers of unsubmitted SAKs, test these kits, and assign designated personnel to pursue new investigative leads and prosecutions and to support victims throughout the investigation and prosecution process.”

More than 70 grantees have received SAKI funding from September 2015 to September 2021, more than 146,000 sexual assault kits have been inventoried, over 83,000 kits have been sent for testing, and more than 72,000 kits have been tested to completion.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email [email protected].

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.