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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

New York Launches DNA Analysis Project

Aired August 5, 2003 - 19:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: New York is going after rapists and other sex criminals, even if authorities do not know how who they are. How, you might ask? Well, all it takes is a little high-tech analysis and an innovative approach to the law. Jason Bellini explains how it works and he found a woman who is grateful it does.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In most rape cases involving unknown assailants, evidence collected from the victim never leaves the box.

KELLIE GREENE, RAPE VICTIMS ADVOCATE: I was raped back in January of 1994 here in Orlando, Florida, and it was stranger rape. I wasn't able to identify the rapist. At that time Florida didn't process the non-suspect rape kit, so it pretty much sat on the shelf for three years.

BELLINI: A national rape victim's advocate, Kellie Greene, thought the stranger who raped her in her Orlando, Florida home would never be caught. But then investigators found and convicted him, after running his DNA through their database.

GREENE: When they made the hit, it was about -- it was three years after, so we were gaining on the statute of limitations, which at the time in Florida was fours years.

BELLINI (on camera): Many rape victims never find out if there's a match in government databases before statutes of limitation run out, because many states don't run the costly tests unless they've identified a suspect.

(voice-over): New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is launching an initiative to change all that. Getting around statutes of limitations by indicting unidentified attackers based on their DNAs.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: We can stop the clock on the statute of limitations so on the day that we find out who that rapist is, whether it takes us 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or more, he will have his day in court.

BELLINI: Starting with cases reaching their 10-year limit, the mayor is ordering the review of 600 rapes from 1994.

Civil liberties advocates see pitfalls. CHRIS DUNN, NYCLU: The thing about DNA evidence that is so troubling in this context is that an innocent person if they are connected by a DNA test is going to have a very difficult time overcoming the presumption that comes with the DNA match.

BELLINI: Kellie Greene thinks the indictment project could give hope to some rape victims.

GREENE: I would have been able to sit back and let the system work for me, knowing that at some time he was going to be identified.

BELLINI: Hope and now the potential for resolution.

Jason Bellini, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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