Ohio's untested rape kits being analyzed, Politician says pace is 'unacceptable'
Tue, 30 Jul 2013 21:48:20 GMT —
Earlier this year, and just an hour from Toledo,
the nation learned
that Detroit alone had nearly 10,000 untested rape kits sitting on shelves.
Though on a much smaller scale, Ohio has its own untested rape kits and within the last 12 months began testing many of them as part of an initiative started by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
"I think most people would be shocked to know there are thousands of these rape kits sitting around in the state," DeWine said.
In late 2011, DeWine announced that his office was spear heading the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative.
By July 15th of this year Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) had received 3,226 kits from law enforcement agencies across the state.
"I said bring them to me, bring them to BCI, bring them to our crime lab, we will test them and we will not charge anything," DeWine said.
Of the tests submitted, by July 15th, more than 300 had been submitted from police departments in Northwest Ohio including 285 sent in by Toledo Police.
Toledo's untested rape kits are not, however, the result of negligence or a lack of funding, rather investigators are now looking forward to closing some of the open cases.
"If the investigation turned out that, at that time, there was not enough evidence of whether someone was not truthful,"the tests would not be analyzed according to Toledo Police Sgt. Tim Campbell.
Of the tests submitted to BCI, the oldest are being tested first in an effort to ensure they are processed before a deadline to prosecute expires.
"We've been able to go back to police departments and say that's your rapist. That's your guy and ...go arrest him. Cases 17 years old," DeWine said.
So far, of the 3,226 tests submitted by July 15th, 1,226 have been tested and generated 342 hits in the DNA database known as
Of the 285 submitted by Toledo Police, 52 kits have been fully tested generating 6 CODIS hits.
Still, though happy the initiative was started, a man vying to unseat Attorney General DeWine in 2014 says the testing is not being done fast enough.
"He put out a call to all these police departments to send them in and in hindsight its clear they were not prepared for it," candidate for Ohio Attorney General David Pepper said.
DeWine's office did add 4 scientists when the initiative started and last week helped break ground on a new crime lab at BGSU that will analyze rape kits in the future, but Pepper has a different proposal for handling the still untested kits.
"I would have [implemented] a smarter solution, working with all the agencies in the state. There are many that can do the same type of testing," Pepper said. "The delay here is because of management and not sharing the work."
Toledo Police aren't sure that solution would work and say that testing needs to be done at one facility for purpose of ensuring consistency among the cases they investigate.
"I don't see the sense in that .. [BCI] is close by," Toledo Police Sgt. Tim Campbell says of the agency they have worked with for years on criminal investigations.
Though Pepper and DeWine differ in their approaches to handling the issue both men agree that the initiative will help get criminals off the streets.
"What if it's your daughter? What if it's my daughter? What if it's my wife? We've got to stop these people," DeWine said.
"I think these women have waited long enough, many of them have already waited years," Pepper added.