In December 2011, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine established the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative, asking law enforcement departments to send previously untested rape kits to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for testing. As of July 1, 2014, BCI had received 8,001 untested kits from 140 law enforcement agencies and tested 4,108, resulting in 1,474 matches in the national DNA database and 135 criminal indictments in Cuyahoga County alone. Approximately one-third of the submitted kits came from Cleveland.
State Senator Capri Cafaro introduced legislation in April 2014 that would require law enforcement agencies to submit any previously untested rape kits connected with open investigations to a crime lab for testing within one year. Senate Bill No. 316 would also require that going forward, law enforcement send any newly collected kit connected with an investigation to a crime lab for testing within 30 days. The lab is then to complete an analysis as soon as possible. This bill passed the Ohio Senate and is now pending in the House.
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In addition to what we know about the backlog in Cleveland, there is also information about the backlog from other jurisdictions in the state.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, as of February 2014, Akron submitted more than 1,000 rape kits for testing. From those kits, there were at least 92 matches in the national DNA database.
In 2009, the Cincinnati Police Department had 1,248 rape kits in storage but did not know whether or not they had been tested. As part of the SAK Testing Initiative, the Department sent 338 untested kits to BCI. As of September 2013, testing on those kits yielded 87 DNA matches.
In early 2012, the Toledo Police Department had 2,300 untested rape kits in its property room, dating back to 1994. The kits were deemed "untestable" because the police lacked the victim's contact information, or the victim chose not to report the rape. As of July 15, 2013, the Department had submitted 285 untested kits to BCI as part of the SAK Testing Initiative, resulting in 59 DNA matches.
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