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ASAKI: Akron's Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Sexual Assault Cold Cases

Award Information

Awardee
Award #
15PBJA-21-GG-04327-SAKI
Location
Awardee County
Summit
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2022
Total funding (to date)
$2,002,676

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,002,676)

Project Abstract

 

SAK-Related Issues in Jurisdiction

Ohio BCI has returned 1,822 tested sexual assault kits (SAKs) to the Akron Police Department—847 of which returned a CODIS eligible profile—from cases 1 year or older. Of those profiles, 498 connected to a known individual and 349 remain unknown. A multidisciplinary team began meeting in February 2019 to provide trauma informed and victim-centered investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults.

 

Need for Funding

Funding is needed for personnel (including investigators, administrative assistance, victim advocate, and prosecutor) to provide continued investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assault cases; efforts to change culture in institutions and the community related to sexual assault; support state lab efforts to evaluate samples for advanced DNA testing; support victims and witnesses associated with cases/trials; continued training for investigators and prosecutors

 

Brief Outline of Timeline

Ongoing: Continued Prioritization, Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Assault Cold Cases:

Review, prioritize, and investigate cold SAK cases; Priority cases move toward adjudication

Year 1: Develop outreach strategies to maximize community messaging surrounding sexual assault specific trauma and response models; Supplies are procured; Soft Interview Room project begins; Victim Emergency funds and Expert Witness funds are established; BCI evaluates samples for advanced DNA testing and forwards viable samples to contracted lab

Year 2: “Developing Evidence Based Perspectives in Interrogation” training for investigators and prosecutors

Years 2 and 3: Community Conversations take place; anticipate 10 or more annually

 

Plan to Resolve these Issues

Funding for ASAKI will be targeted toward [1] the personnel required to continue investigation and prosecution of remaining cases with previously unsubmitted SAKs, [2] Personnel to support collaborative outreach activities aiming to educate and change culture around sexual assault, both in institutions and the community; [3] State lab (BCI) activities involved in identifying candidates for genetic genealogy; [4] Creation of a soft interview room; [5] Travel and associated expenses for survivors and other witnesses for trial; and [6] Training for investigators and prosecutors

 

Lead Agency and Key Partners

Lead agency: APD. Partners include the Summit County Prosecutors Office, Victim Assistance Program, Rape Crisis Center, Case Western Reserve University, and Ohio BCI.

Date Created: December 17, 2021