Testing of Sex Assault Kits Yields First Charges in Wisconsin

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel’s push to examine untested sexual assault evidence units has delivered its first criminal charges.

The state Department of Justice reported Tuesday that prosecutors have documented one count of second-degree rape and one count of third-degree rape against 29-year-old Aaron Heiden of Eau Claire. The charges were documented Monday in Winnebago County.

As indicated by a criminal complaint, a lady met Heiden at a Darboy bar in August 2008. He identified himself as “Alex.” She took him to her Menasha home and the two started to have intercourse. Heiden became rough, pummeling her against a wall when she told him to stop and he left.

A sexual assault exam was conducted on the lady at an Appleton hospital. Bruises pn her legs and feet and genital tears were documented by an examiner. A partial DNA profile was put up by investigators but it didn’t match anyone so the case died off, according to the complaint.

Schimel started a venture in 2016 to test many unanalyzed sexual assault kits sitting on police department and hospital racks. The state crime lab got the lady’s unit in February 2017 and could assemble a more full DNA profile from material taken from the victim’s fingernails.

The DOJ ran the profile through the FBI’s national criminal database and matched it in April to Heiden, who had been indicted of DUI in 2016 in Eau Claire County. Wisconsin law requires anybody indicted of an offense to present a DNA sample.

Heiden was arrested by state agents and sheriff’s deputies in Eau Claire on Tuesday and moved him to the Winnebago County imprison. Online court records didn’t list a lawyer for him.

After about the 10-month delay in acquiring the match and the arrest, DOJ representative Rebecca Ballweg said the case was intricate and every single cold case require broad investigation.

DOJ authorities refused to make any statement when inquired as to why the lady’s kit was never tested, on the grounds that her case is currently pending in court.

A huge number of sexual assault evidence kits have gone untested in the U.S. for a lot of reasons. Prosecutors may have chosen that cases were excessively frail, making it impossible to go after or been compelled to drop cases since victims wouldn’t cooperate. Sexual assault victim advocate groups have been pushing states since 2014 to examine the kits in any case with expectations of recognizing serial criminals.

Testing on Wisconsin kits amid the last half of 2017 yielded DNA profiles that match 20 known criminals in the FBI’s database, including 11 who weren’t recorded as a suspect in the first case.

 

 

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