Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Wednesday forensic scientists working to test rape kits submitted by law enforcement agencies as part of the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative have exceeded the goal to test 3,000 kits during the second year of the initiative.
Of those kits, 3,131 have been tested since October 1, 2013, which marked the start of the second year of testing.
"Our BCI scientists worked extremely hard over the past 11 months to surpass the goal of testing 3,000 kits in an effort to return DNA results back to local law enforcement agencies as quickly as possible," said Attorney General DeWine. "Thanks to this initiative and the investigative follow-up work by local law enforcement, more than 200 people so far have been charged for sexual assaults they allegedly committed years ago."
For example, Robert Green, 69, of Cleveland Heights was sentenced in Cuyahoga County last month to serve up to 135 years in prison for the rapes of seven women between 1993 and 2002.
DNA testing conducted as part of the Attorney General's SAK Testing Initiative and follow-up investigation by the Cuyahoga County DNA Cold Case Task Force connected him to the crimes.
As of Monday, the DNA testing conducted as part of the initiative has led to 1,698 hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
Attorney General DeWine launched the SAK Testing Initiative after learning 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 initiative in an effort to analyze as many of the previously untested kits as possible.
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 5,700 rape kits associated with current crimes tested by BCI since 2011.
In all, 8,774 previously untested kits have been submitted to BCI for testing by 143 Ohio law enforcement agencies, with nearly half of the kits submitted by the Cleveland Police Department.
In Cuyahoga County alone, 204 individuals have been indicted following testing conducted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative.