Authorities Closer To Closing Hundreds Of Colorado Rape Cases

July 15, 2016
Photo: Rape kit testing
A forensic scientist performs tests at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Forensic Scientist Laboratory in Arvada.

The evidence sat in police storage rooms around the state, in some cases for decades, because investigators could not find suspects, or because victims would not cooperate with prosecutors.

Representatives from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced Friday the testing resulted in nearly 700 profile matches on a national DNA database. CBI Director Michael Rankin says that’s helped some local prosecutors file charges in cases that were once considered cold.

“We are now ensuring evidence from these horrible crimes is fully analyzed and potentially provides law enforcement agencies and prosecutors with critical information so they can carry out their duties,” Rankin said.

Three years ago, Colorado lawmakers required that the backlog of untested rape kits be fully processed.

One of those kits was from Greeley. A waitress was walking home from work one night in 1984 when she was allegedly raped in an alley by two men. Now, 32 years later, the men face charges. 

"This legislation has done, I think, more for many victims than any other singular piece of legislation that has passed out of the General Assembly the last several years,” said Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke, who is prosecuting the Greeley case. 

Rourke said he can only charge the men in that Greeley case with kidnapping because of statute of limitations laws on rape.

Sex assault evidence submissions have more than tripled since 2014 now that the law requires all future sexual assault evidence be tested to prevent another backlog.

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