Congressional Budget Includes Earmark to Keep Washington's Sexual Assault DNA Program Moving Forward
"Without this funding, our DNA Stranger Rape Program would have ended in2008. With these funds, we can quickly solve rape cases and preventadditional rapes by keeping sex predators off the streets," said Don Pierce,Executive Director of WASPC.
In November 2006, WASPC began the DNA Stranger Rape Program. The programutilizes a private laboratory to analyze DNA evidence from rape cases in 30days or less. Prior to this program, when a stranger rape occurred, the rapekit was routinely placed into a long backlog of no suspect cases.
The WASPC DNA Stranger Rape Program is designed to be fast and effective.When a stranger rape occurs in Washington State, WASPC immediately works withthe local law enforcement agency to ensure the rape kit is on a plane to a labin Dallas, Texas. There, it receives priority DNA testing by a private DNAtesting laboratory that is able to guarantee results within 30 days. The testresults are then compared to known suspects and given to the Washington StatePatrol to be compared to state and national DNA databases. Nationalstatistics indicate that a match with a suspect will occur in approximatelyone third of the cases where there was no original suspect.
The DNA Stranger Rape Program has been very effective and producedimmediate results upon implementation. Within a week of starting the program,it identified the rapist of a young girl in Olympia in a highly publicizedcase. In addition to identifying the actual perpetrator, the DNA testexonerated an innocent suspect.
Knowing that the program was scheduled to run out of funding in 2008,WASPC approached the Washington Congressional delegation for help. Throughthe collective efforts of Senators Murray and Cantwell and Congressmen Dicks,Smith, and Reichert, the funding was secured. "The delegation got behind thisproject," said Pierce. "We are fortunate in Washington State to have a groupof congressional members who are able to secure funds for important WashingtonState programs."
With the $961,000 congressional earmark, the program will likely havesufficient funding to operate through 2009.
For more information on WASPC and the DNA Stranger Rape Program visithttp://www.waspc.org.
SOURCE Don Pierce