Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released an update on the status of his Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative.
As of July 2, 2013:
• Forensic scientists with the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) have received 3,180 previously untested rape kits from 91 law enforcement agencies.
• BCI has completed DNA testing on 1,165 of those rape kits.
• The DNA testing has led to 322 hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
"We are very pleased with the results we are seeing every day in our lab," said Attorney General DeWine. "Through this effort we've been able to provide information to law enforcement on potential serial rapists, and we've given identifying information to authorities on dozens of unknown attackers."
Attorney General DeWine announced plans for the SAK testing project in December 2011 and requested that Ohio law enforcement agencies submit all of their previously untested rape kits to BCI, unless police previously determined that a crime did not occur.
To prevent delays in analyzing active cases, four additional scientists were added. After several months of training, BCI's plan to analyze rape kits submitted as part of this project was fully implemented.
"DNA testing is a very complex, time consuming process, and we are very happy that we are well on our way towards meeting our testing goal of 1,500 kits by October 2013," said DeWine. "Many of these kits went untested for decades, but every kit submitted to BCI will be tested for DNA."
Law enforcement agencies are submitting additional kits to BCI on a regular basis, and information on each CODIS hit is returned to the original jurisdiction for further investigation and possible arrest.
Because many of the submitted kits are nearly 20 years old, BCI is testing the oldest kits first in an effort to return the results to law enforcement at least one year before expiration of the 20-year statute of limitations for rape.
The Cleveland Police Department has submitted the largest number of kits, followed by the Akron, Cincinnati, and Toledo police departments. So far, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office has received 33 indictments as a direct result of this initiative.
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