The Backlog:


As of July 2014, the Cleveland Police Department submitted 3,985 rape kits dating from 1993 through 2009 for testing in accordance with Ohio's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative. As of February 2015, 2,326 of those kits had been tested, yielding 968 matches in the national DNA database, 324 investigations and 209 criminal indictments. Thirty-two percent of those indicted have been identified as serial rapists. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office anticipates indicting 1,000 cases over the next few years—a third of them serial rapists—as a result of clearing the backlog.

In addition to the backlogged rape kits, the Department also discovered 67 cartons with evidence that had been sent for testing in the mid-2000s. Officials are working to determine whether the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) fully tested all of that evidence before returning it to Cleveland.

Starting in 2010, the city implemented a "test everything" approach regardless of the outcome of the original investigation. The county hired temporary employees to help with the procees of sending all untested evidence to BCI.

The Prosecutor's Office formed a DNA Cold Case Task Force to handle investigation of the cases resulting from testing. The Task Force, which includes detectives, prosecutors, county and state investigators and advocates, is also conducting victim notifications when there is a DNA match. 

For more information on reforms happening in Ohio, click here

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