Houston's effort to test a nearly three-decade backlog of sexual assault kits has resulted in new charges filed against 19 people, city officials said Monday, including 10 suspects identified and arrested for the first time.Some have criticized this process, often anonymously, as wasteful given the bang for the buck. For those critics: Explain in the comments how many sexual assault cases would be enough to justify the expense?
One of the new suspects has been charged in connection with two assaults; another remains at large, Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said. The other eight suspects, he said, already are in jail on other charges and now face sexual assault charges.
City Council in 2013 paid $4.4 million to two private labs to test DNA samples from 9,750 cases, including a backlog of 6,600 rape kits dating to 1987. The labs' work is nearly done, and staff from HPD and the city's forensics lab now are entering all eligible genetic information into the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, a national law enforcement database.
So far, DNA from 1,031 of those cases has produced "hits," meaning a suspect's DNA already was in the database in connection with an earlier crime. In the vast majority of cases reviewed to date, officials said the suspects are known to police, having been arrested, convicted or detained at some point.
HPD Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard said the reviews have confirmed police arrested the right person in 58 sexual assault cases, but officials did not release details Monday about these cases or the 19 suspects hit with new charges. The Houston Chronicle reported in April the testing had identified at least one serial rapist already in jail on other charges.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
19 sex-assault indictments so far from testing Houston rape-kit backlog
The Houston Chronicle's Mike Morris brought us an update (Oct. 6) on the vetting of the Houston PD's rape kit testing backlog. The story opened: