COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently released a status update Aug. 1 on the progress of DNA testing being conducted as part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative.
A total of 141 law enforcement agencies in Ohio have submitted 8,381 rape kits for testing by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) as part of the SAK Testing Initiative.
Forensic scientists at BCI have completed testing on a total of 4,413 rape kits submitted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative.
The DNA testing has led to 1,608 hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and all investigative lead information associated with the hits has been returned to the investigating agencies.
“Approximately one third of all of the kits that have been tested resulted in a hit to the DNA database, and we are returning investigative lead information to local law enforcement so that these perpetrators can be brought to justice,” said Attorney General DeWine.
In Cuyahoga County alone, 170 defendants have been indicted in connection with the SAK Testing Initiative.
After taking office in January 2011, Attorney General DeWine learned that many law enforcement agencies across the state were in possession of thousands of rape kits that had never been submitted for DNA testing, some of which were associated with crimes that occurred decades ago.
While law enforcement agencies are not required by law to submit those kits to a lab for testing, Attorney General DeWine developed the SAK Testing Initiative in an effort to test as many of the previously untested kits as possible. Attorney General DeWine urged law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio to send all of their previously untested kits to the BCI crime lab for DNA testing free of charge.
To handle the influx of the thousands of kits, Attorney General DeWine hired ten additional forensic scientists to ensure the timely analysis of kits submitted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative. By hiring this additional staff, the older kits are tested as quickly as possible, without slowing down the testing of the more than 5,500 rape kits associated with current crimes tested by BCI since 2011.