• KIRO 7 investigation leads to testing of DNA from sexually motivated criminals

    By: Casey McNerthney , Amy Clancy

    Updated:

    DNA from criminals convicted of sexually motivated crimes in Seattle is now being tested – three years after KIRO 7 exposed the problem and lawmakers promised to take action. 

    The DNA that could link criminals to hundreds of unsolved crimes has gone untested for years in Seattle, despite judges' orders to enter the samples into an international criminal database.

    Most of the cases involve sexually motivated crimes, and nearly all the victims have not been notified.

    When KIRO 7 first exposed the problem in August 2016, there were roughly 100 DNA samples waiting to be processed. Today there are roughly 650.

    In Seattle, seven municipal court offenses require offender DNA samples upon conviction: sexual exploitation, violation of a sexual assault protection order, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, stalking, harassment, patronizing a prostitute, and assault with special allegation.

    But because DNA collection is specified only under state law -- not equivalent city laws -- the Seattle samples were not tested. They haven't been since 2014, when State Patrol Crime Lab staff noticed the distinction.

    The DNA collection is ordered under state law. But in Seattle, these seven charges come under city law, called the Seattle Municipal Code.

    State law and city law describe the same crimes, and court precedent said Seattle cases need to be charged under city law.

    See KIRO 7's initial coverage from August 2016 through July 2019 below.

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