COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced July 6 that DNA testing conducted as part of the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative has now resulted in more than 4,000 hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
As of July 1, a total of 4,055 matches to DNA profiles already in the CODIS database have been obtained from 11,257 previously untested rape kits. Authorities from 294 law enforcement agencies have sent a total 13,890 rape kits to BCI for testing as part of the special initiative.
In Cuyahoga County alone, 500 defendants have been indicted following DNA testing conducted as part of the initiative and follow-up investigations conducted by the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force. Attorney General DeWine joined Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty last week to announce the indictment of the 500th defendant, Basim Barnes, who was charged with raping two women, one in 2007 and the other in 2009.
“Our commitment is to test every rape kit,” said Attorney General DeWine. “We owe it to the victims of these attacks, and we owe it to the public.”
Background on Attorney General DeWine’s Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative
Attorney General DeWine launched the initiative in 2011 after learning that many law enforcement agencies across the state were in possession of rape kits, some of which were decades old, that had never been sent to a DNA lab for testing. Attorney General DeWine then made an open call to law enforcement to send their kits to BCI for DNA testing at no cost to them.
To ensure the timely analysis of the thousands of kits submitted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative, Attorney General DeWine hired 10 additional forensic scientists. By hiring this additional staff, the older kits are tested as quickly as possible, without slowing down the testing of the more than 10,400 rape kits associated with recent crimes tested by BCI as part of their regular casework since 2011.
Senate Bill 316, which went into effect in March 2015, required Ohio law enforcement agencies to submit any remaining previously untested sexual assault kits associated with a past crime to a crime laboratory by March 23, 2016. Of the more than 13,000 kits submitted to BCI as part of the SAK Testing Initiative, 4,559 were submitted after the law went into effect. The law also requires that all newly collected rape kits be submitted to a crime lab within 30 days after law enforcement determines a crime has been committed.