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Attorney General Josh Stein Shares 2023 Update on Sexual Assault Kit Testing

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Contact:
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

Also Released the Department of Justice’s 2023 Annual Report

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today shared an update on the North Carolina State Crime Lab’s progress to test sexual assault kits in 2023 as he released the Department of Justice’s 2023 annual report. In addition to updates on the State Crime Lab’s work to analyze and test evidence for law enforcement, the report also provides updates on the work happening across the department, including at the North Carolina Justice Academy, the law enforcement Training and Standards Divisions, and throughout the Criminal, Civil, and Consumer Protection divisions.

Attorney General Stein released the following statement:

“Scientists at the Crime Lab are helping make our communities safer by testing kits, analyzing evidence, and giving law enforcement information that helps move cases forward and gets justice for victims and survivors. We’re getting close to having tested nearly all of the older, untested kits, and we’ll keep at this work to get justice for survivors of sexual assault.

“I also want to commend my colleagues across the Department of Justice for their diligent work to defend the state and its people in 2023. There is no better group of public servants to keep our communities safe and protect our rights, our taxpayer dollars, and our natural resources. I’m grateful for their hard work and proud to work alongside them.”

After a statewide audit in 2019, DOJ determined that 16,219 untested sexual assault kits sat on the shelves of local law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement found that 11,775 of those kits were testable based on the requirements of the Survivor Act. Ninety-three percent of those kits have been tested, which has allowed the Crime Lab to enter 4,906 new profiles in the CODIS DNA database. This work has led to CODIS (the DNA database) hits to 2,481 of those profiles. Nearly 50 percent of tested kits with an eligible CODIS profile have a CODIS hit to an existing case or known offender, allowing law enforcement to move forward in their investigations. As a result of DNA testing, law enforcement agencies reported approximately 174 arrests related to at least 200 crimes.

Arrests in the past years have included the following:
• The Raleigh Police Department arrested a man alleged to be responsible for a 1995 sexual assault cold cases and several other cases, charging him with 15 counts of sexual assault, 12 counts of rape, 10 counts of kidnapping, and other charges.
• A Raleigh man was arrested in March for the rape of a 73-year-old-woman he allegedly committed in 1990.
• A New Hanover County jury convicted a Wilmington man on first degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual offense, and robbery, carrying a prison sentence of 36 to 44 years.

An overview of law enforcement agencies’ progress is available at www.ncdoj.gov/testthekits. To date, the State Crime Lab has made more than 11,000 CODIS hits and aided more than 8,800 investigations.

The annual report also recaps the department’s work in 2023 to protect North Carolinians from crime and consumer fraud, keep children safe online, defend the state, and train and certify law enforcement officers.

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