New York to Review Over 800 Rape Cases for DNA Evidence Errors© RIA Novosti/Avrora Yana Makarova, Alexey Bakulev
WASHINGTON, January 11 (RIA Novosti) - The New York City medical examiner’s office is reviewing hundreds of rape cases where errors may have been made by one of its lab technicians in the processing of vital DNA evidence.
Under review are more than 800 rape kits collected between 2001 and 2011, the New York Times reported.
“This is the first time we’ve had anything like this,” Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the office of the chief medical examiner told the newspaper.
The medical examiner’s office, whose technicians are responsible for conducting tests on rape kits that contain saliva, semen or blood collected from the victim, has thus far uncovered 26 cases of mishandled DNA.
According to the Times, a supervisory review of the technician found instances where she overlooked biological evidence entirely, and in some cases when DNA was detected, the technician botched the chemical test and instead reported finding nothing.
The mismanagement of evidence led to incorrect reports being handed off to criminal investigators the newspaper said.
Cross contamination of evidence is also a concern.
The medical examiner’s office cited at least one instance where the technician placed evidence in the wrong kit, the Times reported, though the office’s director of forensic biology said all of the errors were in reporting false negatives, meaning nobody was wrongfully convicted, according to reports.
Officials have yet to review 412 cases out of the 843 that have been flagged, the Associated Press reported.
The identity of the technician, who resigned in November 2011 after nine years of working for the office, has not been released.
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