In December 2014, the Ohio legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to submit previously untested rape kits connected with open investigations to a crime lab for testing within one year. The new law, Senate Bill No. 316 also requires that going forward, law enforcement send any newly collected kit connected with an investigation to a crime lab for testing within 30 days. The lab is to complete an analysis as soon as possible.
The law follows years of reform in Ohio that began in December 2011, when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine established the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative. Through the initiative, he asked law enforcement departments to send previously untested rape kits to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for testing, at no cost to the departments.
As of May 2016, over 280 law enforcement agencies submitted more than 13,500 rape kits for testing as part of the statewide SAK Testing Initiative, and forensic scientists at BCI have completed testing on 10,000 of those kits, resulting in 3,377 hits in the Combined DNA Index System, over 400 indictments, and more than 100 convictions.
In September 2015, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office announced the Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigation was awarded $1,998,300 to test 2,630 rape kits. Additionally, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office was awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.
For more information on reforms happening in Ohio, click here.
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According to the Akron Beacon Journal, as of February 2014, Akron submitted more than 1,000 rape kits for testing. From those kits, there were at least 92 matches in the national DNA database.
In 2009, the Cincinnati Police Department had 1,248 rape kits in storage but did not know whether or not they had been tested. As part of the SAK Testing Initiative, the Department sent 338 untested kits to BCI. As of September 2013, testing on those kits yielded 87 DNA matches.
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