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Ohio felonies: State works to test thousands of rape kits

There are thousands of untested rape kits that are being sent from police departments all over the state to one central location for testing. Some of the kits have gone untested for months if not years. Many people who have been accused of felonies such as rape or sexual assault have been waiting for their day in court.

There are some who say that the process is not going fast enough. There are approximately 3,226 rape kits that were sent to the Ohio Bureau of Investigation for testing from the time the Attorney General began his initiative to get the kits tested through July 15 of this year. Of those, 1,226 have been through the testing process. There have been 342 DNA samples identified through CODIS, a national DNA database.

With so many kits that are traveling to and from police departments to the Ohio Bureau of Investigation, there could potentially be questions regarding chain of custody. In addition, whether there is enough staff to properly conduct the testing could be an issue. When the push by the Attorney General's Office began, four additional scientists were hired in order to help with the volume of kits that need to be tested, but that may not have been enough.

The more complex the science gets, the more room there if for error on the part of the testers. When this is combined with the fact that the kits are moving all over the place, the validity of the results of these tests could be called into question. Being accused of felonies such as rape and sexual assault can come with serious penalties. A thorough review of the testing process from beginning to end may be in order to ensure that everything was done correctly and the results are accurate. Innocent people have been convicted of crimes they didn't commit because of faulty testing procedures.

Source: northwestohio.com, "Ohio's untested rape kits being analyzed, Politician says pace is 'unacceptable'," Angi Gonzalez, July 30, 2013

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