CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County officials announced Wednesday morning that its Sexual Assault Kit Task Force now leads the nation in the number of indictments of alleged rapists identified by DNA.
The Cuyahoga Prosecutor’s Office says its team has now indicted more than 800 defendants, more than any sexual assault task force in the nation. The task force has conducted a total of 7,024 investigations which have resulted in 809 indictments.
The 800th indictment is against 48-year-old Angel Cruz. Prosecutors allege that in 2007, he climbed through the victim’s window, hid in her closet, and then when she walked into her home, he threw her on her bed and sexually assaulted her several times.
According to the prosecutor’s office, some of the indictments stemming from the rape kits this past week are:
Jason Williams, 40, is charged with three counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of gross sexual imposition.
- On Jan. 3, 2002, Williams sexually assaulted the victim, 20, multiple times at his East 82nd residence in Cleveland.
- On June 11, 2009, Williams approached the victim, 35, at a bus stop near Union Avenue and Broadway Avenue. He forced her to a nearby parking lot, choked her, and sexually assaulted her multiple times before fleeing the scene.
Shawn McGrath, 51, is charged with one count of rape and one count of kidnapping.
- On Aug. 5, 2006, McGrath approached the victim, 35, in his vehicle near the steps of the Cleveland Public Library on Lorain Avenue near West 82nd Street. He exited his vehicle, picked her up, put her in his car, and drove to a nearby car wash where he sexually assaulted her before she was able to escape.
Milton Sherrod, 35, and Anthony Browning, 38, are each charged with one count of rape and one count of complicity.
- On May 31, 2004, Sherrod and Browning told the victim, 15, to get in their vehicle after leaving a party in Cleveland. While Sherrod was driving, Browning got into the back seat with the victim and sexually assaulted her. Shortly after, Sherrod pulled over, switched with Browning, and sexually assaulted the victim as well.
John Doe #166 is charged with one count of rape, one count of robbery, and one count of kidnapping.
- On Sept. 16, 2002, the victim, 17, was walking home near East 86th Street and Meridian Avenue in Cleveland when an unknown male grabbed her from behind, put his hand over her mouth, and threatened to kill her. He forced her behind a nearby house and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene.
Cuyahoga County’s Sexual Assault Kit Task Force was created in 2013 after Ohio launched an initiative to test old rape kit in cases that could still be prosecuted.
Over a five-year span, close to 14,000 rape kits were tested. Many came from Cleveland where police had failed to submit kits for testing for years.
A study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University found many of the Cuyahoga County suspects linked to the unsolved rapes turned out to be serial criminals accused of other violent crimes, including assaults, domestic violence and rape.
For example, the number of indictments exceeds more than 900 victims because several of the defendants are alleged serial rapists.
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