Rape kit testing becoming political debate

Published: Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The political battle for Ohio Attorney General is heating up as Democratic challenger David Pepper says current Attorney General Mike DeWine has not sufficiently addressed the problem of backlogged rape kits collected across Ohio.

Three years ago, DeWine announced an initiative asking for local jurisdictions to send their unprocessed rape kits - some which had been sitting on shelves for decades - to the state's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) lab in London, Ohio.

Since then, 8,001 kits have been submitted to lab for testing, 338 of which came from the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD). Of those submitted, 4,108 have been tested, resulting in 1,474 matches to the national DNA database.

Locally, 256 of the 338 tests submitted by CPD have been processed so far, with 88 matches to the DNA database.

Despite this, DeWine's challenger, former Hamilton County Commissioner and Cincinnati City Council member David Pepper says this isn't enough progress, and that the backlog is growing too large.

For example, instead of testing being done solely at the BCI lab in London, Pepper has proposed spreading the workload amongst the regional crime labs across Ohio, including one in Hamilton County.

DeWine says there are thousands of new rape kits coming in each month. BCI is able to turn those around in less than a month, and in some cases in 24 hours.

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