Cleveland

Backlog Snapshot

Untested Kits:

Unknown

Testing:

In Progress

Starting in 2010, Cleveland implemented a "test everything" approach, sending all rape kits in law enforcement storage to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for testing, regardless of the outcome of the original investigation. Cuyahoga County, which includes the city of Cleveland, hired temporary employees to help with the procees of sending all untested evidence to BCI.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office formed a DNA Cold Case Task Force to handle investigations that arose from testing backlogged kits. The Task Force, which includes detectives, prosecutors, county and state investigators and advocates, also conducts victim notifications when there is a DNA match.

As of September 2017, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation has tested 6,824 kits submitted by law enforcement agencies across Cuyahoga County, resulting in the identification of 436 serial rapists. 

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office $1,993,741 to address its backlog through testing kits, investigating and prosecuting cases and re-engaging survivors. 

In 2016, the BJA awarded the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office an additional $2,000,000 to sustain this work. The BJA also awarded the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office $1,000,000 to expand their collection of DNA to help identify unknown offenders. In 2017, the BJA awarded the City of Cleveland $2,083,842 to support local backlog reduction efforts.

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.

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