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Crime and Courts


Ohio attorney general investigates rape-kit testing
DeWine finds hits 30 percent of the time
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
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In The Region:
There are thousands of rape kits that have never been tested in Ohio, and the state attorney general says his agency is working through that stack.

There are thousands of rape kits that have never been tested in Ohio, and the state attorney general says his agency is working through that stack.

Mike DeWine says his office has received nearly 3,446 old rape kits from around a hundred law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio. He says 1,436 have been analyzed, and 30 percent resulted in a hit in the national DNA database.

Click to hear DeWineon the rape kit findings
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“We’re running almost one out of every three,” DeWine said. “We’re going back to police departments and telling them, ‘Here’s your rapist.’  We’re going back to other police departments and telling them, ‘The guy you thought was your rapist, has been your suspect, and you never charged— hey, he’s not your rapist. Look somewhere else.’”

DeWine says four forensic scientists were hired to handle the rape kit backlog.

The state has already received thousands of old rape kits this year, but the attorney general says he’s bracing for more.

DeWine says of the more than 1,400 that have been tested, nearly a third have turned up hits on a national DNA database.

But he says there are 800 law enforcement agencies around Ohio, and some agencies have thousands of old rape kits.

Hear Ohio Attorney General DeWine talk about rape-kit workload
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“It’s abundantly clear that the workload is going to continue to come on these old rape kits,” DeWine said. “That’s good because if we continue to run at one-fourth, or now one-third hits, we will continue to have very viable information to local police departments.”

DeWine says six new forensic scientists will be hired to handle the caseload, at a cost of $400,000 a year. He had said in 2011 he hoped his office would test 3,000 rape kits each year.

The Republican attorney general adds that he supports a bill sponsored by Democratic Senators Capri Cafaro and Nina Turner, which would remove the 20-year statute of limitations on rape and sexual battery

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