500th defendant indicted as investigators test backlog of rape kits in Cuyahoga County

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 16:26:49-04

Basin Barnes is the 500th defendant to be indicted for rape in Cuyahoga County, since state investigators from BCI started testing old rape kits.


After a DNA hit, Barnes is accused of two rapes at gunpoint.


“And he pulled a black pistol on her, he threatened to kill her as well repeatedly, unless she had sex with him,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Rick Bell.


Investigators from the state task force said during an afternoon news conference Wednesday, they're reviewing a backlog of 5,000 rape kits from victims in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.


Prosecutors said more than 300 of those rapes were committed by serial rapists, who attacked at least two women.


"Serial rapists, to take them off the streets, to lock them up, to make sure they're not out raping anybody else,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.


Most of the cases are resulting in indictments.


While DNA helps the case, authorities say they couldn't get convictions without cooperation from victims.


"It's a tough thing to do to be a rape victim, sometimes put on trial, but they did it, and they saved other women in the future,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty.


Teresa Stafford from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center said solving cold cases does more than bring justice to victims.


"Justice for survivors isn't just about a successful prosecution, justice for them, could be that they're finally being believed, that somebody assaulted them, and that they're being affirmed,” Stafford said.


McGinty said the average prison sentence for rapists being convicted is ten years.


92% of defendants being indicted are being convicted prosecutors said.