Attorney General DeWine Announces $450,000 Grant for Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force
CLEVELAND -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he will provide significant new resources to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to assist with the hundreds of sexual assault investigations now occurring due to Attorney General DeWine's Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative.
The new resources, which include nearly a half a million dollars in grant funding, will go towards expanding Prosecutor Timothy McGinty's Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.
"Our Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative and the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force are making a positive difference. Together we are holding offenders accountable for their crimes, regardless of how long ago the crimes occurred, and we are empowering survivors who may have waited years, if not decades, for justice," said Attorney General DeWine. "Today I'm pleased to announce that my office is expanding the support we are already providing to Cuyahoga County to investigate these sexual assault cases at an even faster pace."
During a news conference with Prosecutor McGinty at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center this morning, Attorney General DeWine announced that he will provide the Sexual Assault Kit Task Force with:
- A $450,000 "Ohio Attorney General's Office Safe Neighborhoods Initiative" grant to be used by the prosecutor's office to hire six new investigators;
- An Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) special agent supervisor to oversee the hundreds of ongoing criminal investigations;
- A full-time BCI criminal intelligence analyst to assist in locating sexual assault survivors, suspects, and witnesses;
- A third full-time BCI special agent investigator, in addition to the two BCI agents who have been serving on the task force since 2013.
“With the additional resources Attorney General DeWine has announced today, and with the infusion of additional investigators that we expect from Cuyahoga County Council, we believe we can cut in half the time it will take us to investigate these cold cases," said Prosecutor McGinty. "The sooner we test and arrest the better because it means fewer women will be attacked, raped and even killed by these serial offenders."
Attorney General DeWine launched the SAK Testing Initiative in 2011 after learning that dozens of law enforcement agencies across the state were in possession of rape kits, some of which were decades old, that had not previously been sent to a DNA lab for testing. Attorney General DeWine then made an open call to law enforcement to send those kits to BCI for forensic testing free of charge. Following the testing of each kit, any investigative lead information associated with a hit in
the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is then returned to law enforcement for follow-up investigation.
As of November 16, 2014, 27 law enforcement agencies in Cuyahoga County have submitted more than 4,800 kits for testing, and investigative lead information associated with more than 1,300 CODIS hits have been returned for investigation. Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County have indicted nearly 230 defendants so far.
In addition to the investigators with the prosecutor's office and BCI, investigators with the Cleveland Police Department and Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office are also assigned to the task force.
Statewide as of November 16, 2014, a total 147 law enforcement agencies have submitted 9,021 sexual assault kits for testing, resulting in 2,033 CODIS hits so far.
Ohio Attorney General's Office
Jill Del Greco, Public Information Officer