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Published: Wednesday, 10/2/2013

Ohio tests 1,585 rape kits, nets 500 leads

BY RACHEL DISSELL
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

CLEVELAND — Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office said it has exceeded a goal of analyzing 1,500 previously untested rape kits since October, 2012.

Mr. Dewine said Tuesday his office expects to double that amount — testing at least 3,000 kits by this time in 2014.

The attorney general in late 2011 issued an open call to police departments statewide urging them to clear their evidence-room shelves of sexual assault evidence that had not been examined and could generate leads in unsolved cases.

Mr. DeWine, who oversees the state crime labs, hired additional staff to test the older kits so DNA testing of evidence in newly reported cases would not be delayed.

Mr. DeWine recently said he was hiring even more analysts to speed up the testing process.

Since testing began last year, 1,585 kits of more than 4,050 submitted have been tested, generating more than 500 computer database matches identifying offenders or generating leads in cases as of Sept. 30.

“The results of this testing initiative go far beyond what we expected one year ago, and we are pleased to have helped local law enforcement identify hundreds of potential rape suspects in these past 12 months,” Mr. DeWine said.

More than 350 of those leads are in cases submitted by the Cleveland police. Information is also being generated in cases submitted by suburban departments, including Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Parma, Shaker Heights, and South Euclid.

Cleveland police have submitted far more kits than any other department statewide.

Through a partnership, the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have hired temporary civilian workers to speed up the submission of at least 4,000 kits police Chief Michael McGrath has said the department will have tested.



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