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Collecting Lawfully Owed DNA to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2021

In this webinar, Mary Weston and Brett Kyker of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Prosecutor’s Office, together with Rachel Lovell of Case Western Reserve University, provide an overview of the collection of lawfully owed DNA and how this expands the CODIS database to increase the likelihood of identifying suspects in sexual assault cases, as well as in other crimes.


The webinar panel describes sexual assault cases in Cuyahoga County (Ohio) that could have either been prevented or solved had the offender’s DNA been obtained in earlier criminal justice processing and submitted to the CODIS database. In one profiled case, an offender’s DNA was not in CODIS despite having served a 15-year prison sentence for a 1989 rape. Although he was swabbed for his DNA while in prison, it was never entered into CODIS. In another cited case, an offender’s DNA was linked to samples from three Cleveland rapes and one Cleveland homicide, which occurred between 1996 and 2010; however, he remained unknown to police until he was swabbed by a suburban police department after an arrest for rape in 2012. His DNA should have been in CODIS before he was released from prison in 2012; he was arrested for rape 2 weeks later. These cases are presented to show evidence of the importance of obtaining DNA from justice-involved arrestees and offenders under laws that mandate it. It is also important that all mandated DNA samples be submitted to CODIS for access by law enforcement agencies across the country.

Date Published: August 20, 2021