TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – WTOL 11's investigation into the state testing thousands of old rape kits for DNA is sparking controversy. Most feel it is a great idea to catch serial rapists, but others worry it is another case of Big Brother interfering.
In July a new team of scientists will hit Ohio's crime labs to test an addition of 3,000 rape kits each year.
"And many times we can get a hit. We can find out who that guy is and we can put him in prison," said Attorney General Mike DeWine.
DeWine wants to test up to 90 percent of kits, which is much more than the 50 percent labs receive now. This would mean more DNA profiles in the DNA database, but with additional numbers.
"I think from a public policy move, it's a big victory. But from a privacy rights point of view, there are going to be problems," explained DeWine.
Civil Rights Attorney Scott Ciolek said there should be additional worries.
"The privacy laws that are in place today can be changed any day," said Ciolek.
The Toledo Police Department did not send kits when victims did not leave their name, refused to speak with detectives or admitted they had lied.
"I suppose you can have a situation of someone who did not commit a crime and their DNA still gets in the database," said Ciolek.
Now the TPD will only shelve kits when victims admit to making a false report.
"Nothing happens, it just sits there. Unless they commit a crime, there's never a match," clarified Ciolek.
Rules now state only law enforcement, defense attorneys and the court can have access to DNA profiles. Research companies can also have access if names are removed.
"I think there should be provision put into place so that any abuse of this information can be punished," Ciolek said.
Ciolek said public access to DNA could lead to bigger problems, such as insurance companies determining who is at high risk of developing diseases and adjusting costs.
"They would be less likely to cover you and more likely to charge higher premiums," explained Ciolek.
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