Cleveland-area task force set up to look at shelved rape kits passes 800th indictment

With 13 indictments this week, a Cuyahoga County task force looking into previously untested rape kits passed 800 indictments since it was formed in 2013.

“We changed I think by doing this, we changed the culture, or helped advance the culture at least in Ohio, and across the country. And said look, we’re not going to accept the fact that these are old rape kits. They have not been tested, we’re not going to accept the fact that these may be difficult cases to run down,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday.
DeWine said the kits, done from 1971 to 2014, had never been tested for DNA. That is “just unacceptable,” he said.
More than 14,000 kits have now been tested, he added.
    The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault Kit Task Force has now seen 809 indictments, Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a statement.
    He said the total number of indictments is the highest of any sexual assault kit task force in the nation.
    “Despite this success, we know that more violent offenders remain lurking on our streets. We continue to explore new avenues to bring others who have evaded law enforcement to justice,” he said. “Several new initiatives will be announced in the weeks to come.”
    According to O’Malley’s office, the task force has a 93.2% conviction rate.
      “To be number one in providing comfort and compassion, healing, and justice to survivors of rape and sexual abuse, that’s a good list to be at the top of,” Sondra Miller, the president and CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, told CNN affiliate WOIO.
      Cuyahoga County includes Cleveland and has about 1.2 million residents, according to the US Census Bureau.

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