Cuyahoga County is getting a big boost from the Department of Justice to help investigate the backlog of rape test kits that span two decades.
The Sexual Assault Kit Task Force and partner Case Western Reserve University have been awarded about $3 million in grants to help the task force investigate and prosecute cases that come from the evidence.
To date, the task force has completed investigations on 2,332 rape kits and indicted 527 defendants. Of those indictment to reach a final court decision, 219, about 93 percent, have been convicted. There are currently 3,498 investigations underway.
“We need to finish the job,” said Prosecutor Tim McGinty, “This grant will help us do so."
The federal government is sending about $1.5 million over the next three years to the task force to help pay investigators and victim advocates. About $30,000 of that money will head to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
An additional $460,000 will head to CWRU's Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education to help collect and report on the performance and data collected by the task force.
"We look forward to building on our successful partnership with the Task Force in seeking justice for survivors and making our communities safer," Rachel Lovell, researcher Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University said. “Our research will point the way for how to best support survivors, while informing practices and policies to engender systemic change — not only in Cuyahoga County, but across the country."