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Sexual Assault Victims Could Track Rape Kits Online Through Proposed Program

photo of Mike DeWine
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
From the left: Rosa Beltre of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, State Sen. Stephanie Kunze, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and laboratory supervisor Kristen Slaper with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation introduced the potential program.

Victims of sexual assault may soon have a new way to find out the status and location of a key piece of evidence in their cases instantly and anonymously.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says a free online program would allow sexual assault survivors to enter the barcodes on their rape kits to follow them from medical facilities where they’re collected to crime labs where they’re tested to law enforcement for storage or destruction.

“Rape survivors have already gone through unimaginable trauma, and not knowing where their cases stand can also be agonizing,” he said.

The tracking program would take about $1 million from the Victims of Crime Fund to launch and would need legislation to require all agencies to participate. The legislation is being sponsored by two Republican women state lawmakers, Sen. Stephanie Kunze and Rep. Dorothy Pelanda.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.