State law to speed rape kit testing

State law to speed rape kit testing
Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 16:32:27-04

CINCINNATI – Wednesday was the deadline for law enforcement agencies across Ohio to submit rape kits for DNA testing, and future rape kits must be submitted sooner than in the past under new state regulations.

The mandate was set by a state law that went into effect March 23 of 2015. It required any untested rape kits to be submitted for DNA testing within a year. 

In the past, DNA testing was a slow process. Police would often hold the evidence if they didn’t have a suspect, Mount Healthy Police Chief Vince Demasi said.

Now, technology has advanced and local law enforcement agencies are already following the new requirements in order to catch those who commit sexual assaults.

“A person that's brazen enough to commit a sexual assault, we need to address,” Demasi said. “Those are serious offenders."

As of March 1, more than 12,000 untested rape kids had been submitted statewide. More than 3,600 have turned up matches so far, helping police solve the crimes.

“You’ll have the same person doing multiple offenses, so that’s where it becomes very, very productive,” Demasi said.

State officials have been calling for the backlogged kits to be submitted since 2011. Attorney General Mike DeWine said he expected most already had been submitted ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

Going forward, all law enforcement agencies will need to submit the rape kits within 30 days.