New Law Links DNA Evidence to Criminals from Old Sexual-Assault Cases

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    A new law goes into effect Tuesday that provides hope for women who have been victims of sexual assault in Texas.

    For the first time, prosecutors and parole boards may see see DNA evidence in a rape case, even after the statute of limitations has expired. Although attackers linked to old cases through DNA evidence can't be prosecuted, the law allows them to be attached to their Texas Department of Public Safety criminal files.

    The next time the attacker gets into trouble, police will know what kind of threat they are dealing with.

    The Dallas Police Department has stored decades' worth of DNA samples in its cold case division. Of the 289 old cases dating from 1983 to 1986 that one officer, Sgt. Welsh, has examined, he has found matches in 24 cases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Having that kind of evidence linked to criminals' profiles can have significant impact on their terms of parole and force them to possibly attend sessions for sex offenders.

    A small group of rape survivors supported the law that was passed by Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) and Rep. Allen Vaught, D-Dallas.

    Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.