HPD clears backlog of untested sex assault kits

Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 at 11:07 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For years, DNA evidence for more than a thousand sex assault cases sat untested in the Honolulu Police Department’s evidence rooms.

But today, the HPD said it has cleared its backlog of untested rape kits and found DNA matches for more than a hundred cases.

“I realize there’s been hiccups along the way in terms of meeting the deadlines that were set by the state Legislature but they’ve obviously made tremendous progress,” said Loretta Sheehan, chair of the Honolulu Police Commission.

The HPD said it used federal money to increase staffing and hire outside labs to catch up.

Of the kits tested, the HPD said it found 116 samples that matched the DNA of a person suspected of a sex crime or of another sex offender listed on the FBI’s national database.

“We know that sexual predators move across the United State from islands to the mainland and back,” said Sheehan.

“By putting their information into the (FBI’s) CODIS system, we will be able to track and prosecute sex offenders more successfully.”

But there are plenty of hurdles.

“We do go through a process to review all of these cases. But going into it, we knew our success rate was not going to be good because some of these cases were 20 years old," said acting HPD Maj. Walter Ozeki.

For many of these older cases, the statute of limitations is just six years.

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