The race for Ohio attorney general is heating up, and Democratic candidate David Pepper last week slammed his opponent, current Attorney General Mike DeWine, over Ohio’s lag in testing rape kits, which are samples collected when a rape is reported.
Those samples can help identify the rapist — one in three kits results in a match with someone in Ohio’s DNA database. But Ohio has a backlog of almost 4,000 rape kits waiting to be tested, some more than 20 years old, Pepper noted July 7 in a news release, and that number is growing.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation can test about 300 of the kits in a month.
That’s not fast enough, Pepper says, attributing the lag to DeWine’s mismanagement. He proposes sending the kits to other regional labs for testing, speeding up the process and hopefully catching more rapists.
“At the current rate, this will take four to five years,” Pepper says. “To me, that’s just not good enough.”DeWine says he didn’t create the backlog and in fact requested the extra kits from local law enforcement agencies, which often had them locked away for years in evidence rooms. He says sending the kits to other labs is a bad idea because the state’s lab has developed unique expertise necessary to test them. DeWine has pointed to his office’s success in reducing the backlog of rape kits left untested by local authorities.