Cuyahoga County

Testing of rape kits hits prosecuting milestone


Cleveland – In what local leaders are marking as a milestone, a 500th man faces rape charges in Cuyahoga County based on the testing and investigation of sexual assault evidence kits that were overlooked.

It's the largest number of people indicted from the testing of pool of overlooked rape kits anywhere in the nation.

To date, nearly 5,000 rape kits from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County suburbs have been shipped to the state crime lab to be analyzed for DNA evidence.

Testing will soon be complete on all of the Cuyahoga County kits, which were collected at area hospitals from victims who reported rapes as far back as 1993.

"Cleveland's success is something that a lot of states look up to," said Ilse Knecht, senior policy director for the Joyful Heart Foundation, a non-profit that pushes nationally for rape kit reform.

"A lot of communities have pretty big rape kit projects in front of them and Cleveland is an example of how it can be done...It's inspirational."

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