Home Politics Elections Election 2018 Did Cordray really leave rape kits untested as attorney general?

Did Cordray really leave rape kits untested as attorney general?

4 min read

Gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine docked opponent Richard Cordray for allegedly not testing rape kits as attorney general. But what’s really the case?

A commonality in the 2018 Gubernatorial race between Richard Cordray (D) and Mike DeWine (R) is the epithet “12,000 rape kits.”

DeWine claims that, while attorney general, Cordray failed to test rape kits — or sexual assault evidence collection kits — and therefore “left serial rapists free to strike again.”

DeWine’s widely-played ad says: “While Richard Cordray was attorney general, 12,000 rape kits … were left untested. Cordray’s failure left serial rapists free to strike again. Then Mike DeWine became attorney general. He tested all 12,000 rape kits. Now hundreds of rapists are behind bars.”

This statement is not entirely false, according to Politifact. But it doesn’t reflect the failure of local law enforcement, the flawed system, or the backlog of untested kits that surmounted before Cordray took office in 2009.  

When Cordray was appointed to serve as attorney general, the U.S. was amidst a national backlog, which continues today.

In July 2010 —  just one year after his appointment —  the Cleveland Police tallied 6,125 rape kits dating back to 1993; of those, roughly 39 percent were tested.

Ohio did not have a consistent testing policy during this time. Instead, testing policies were individual to law enforcement agencies.

Cleveland police said the untested kits would be sent to the state’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), according to the Plain Dealer. The BCI is under the jurisdiction of the attorney general.

After the revelations in Cleveland, Cordray called for a statewide protocol, established the Ohio Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission, and announced new, more efficient testing methods.

Cordray lost re-election to DeWine in 2010. DeWine reinstated the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission a few months into his term after a Cleveland police department misplaced evidence tied to a serial killer and rapist. He later established a new task force, which cleared the decade-long backlog.

By February 2018, DeWine said the state analyzed over 13,000 rape kits and charged hundreds of perpetrators. Hence, the claim that DeWine tested “all 12,000 rape kits” that were left untested by Cordray.

So while DeWine’s efforts did relieve an immense weight on Ohio’s criminal justice system, they were built on Cordray’s foundation, to which DeWine gives no credit and, in fact, antagonizes.

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