Rape kit testing results in charges related to 15 sexual assaults in Durham dating back to 1984

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Rape kit testing results in charges related to 15 sexual assaults in Durham dating back to 1984

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department's Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit announced charges filed against 11 people in connection with 15 sexual assault cases.

The unit is funded through a national $1 million SAKI project three-year grant. SAKI is the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative of the Department of Justice.

"Victims and their families can rest a little easier tonight knowing that the individuals who allegedly perpetrated these crimes against them are now behind bars and will soon have their day in court," said Durham Police Department Chief CJ Davis in a virtual news conference Tuesday.

Those cases go back as far as 1984.

In the news conference, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein recognized law enforcement, victims reporting the crimes and DNA as reasons for the charges.

WATCH: Untested sexual assault kits in the Triangle make up over a quarter of kits statewide

"DNA is a powerful tool," Attorney General Stein said. "It can tie a potentially dangerous suspect to a crime or it can exonerate the innocent."

Just a few years ago, North Carolina had 15,000 untested rape kits.

Attorney General Stein said there's a capacity issue with labs only having so much capacity to handle kits at any given time. He said there is still more work to do.

"We are making excellent progress. We have entered all of those kits into our tracking system. We've secured both grant funds and a $6 million appropriation from the General Assembly to outsource those kits."

The grant also provides assistance to the Durham Crisis Response Center, which works with victims.

SEE ALSO: 2 charged in Fayetteville cold case after rape kit tested 30 years later

Attorney General Stein's office said a total of 8,218 kits are in the process of being tested/have been tested.

  • 1,903 have been tested
  • 3,262 are with the State Crime Lab or vendor lab for testing
  • 3,053 have been approved for outsourcing and are up next to go to the vendor
  • 248 CODIS hits (Combined DNA Index System)