Cuyahoga County

State crime lab finished testing nearly 5,000 older Cuyahoga County rape kits


Richfield, Ohio – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that the state lab he oversees has finished testing nearly 5,000 previously forgotten rape kits from Cuyahoga County.

It's the end of a journey that started after it was discovered that thousands of evidence kits collected from women who reported rapes sat on police evidence shelves, some for decades, without being tested.

The announcement was made at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab in Richfield, where forensic scientists for four years have worked furiously to process the kits, in some cases racing the clock so prosecutors didn't run out of time to ask for an indictment.

While work remains, the result has been a cultural shift in the understanding of the importance of testing rape evidence, following up with thorough investigations and supporting victims. That came in part with the gut-wrenching revelation that hundreds of rapists were able to attack again and again after cases were closed swiftly because of a lack of resources to investigate them and a lack of understanding as to how to work with traumatized victims.

The 4,996 rape kits submitted by Cleveland and 39 other Cuyahoga County law enforcement agencies make up more than a third of the total older rape kits sent for testing statewide. Cleveland's kits date back to 1993.

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