DNA testing sends serial rapist to prison for life

DNA testing sends serial rapist to prison for life

On Thursday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a status update on the progress of DNA testing being conducted as part of the Ohio Attorney General's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative.

As of July 1, 186 law enforcement agencies have submitted 10,134 kits to be tested as part of the initiative. Of those, 800 kits were submitted after Senate Bill 316 took effect.

Forensic scientists with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation have completed testing on 7,814 kits, resulting in 2,887 hits in the Combined DNA Index System.

In Cuyahoga County alone, more than 330 defendants have been indicted following DNA testing conducted as part of the effort, including Moses Clark, 65, who was sentenced this week to life in prison after being found guilty of raping three women in 2006. His first chance for parole will be in 36 years, when he will be 101.

On June 2, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury found Clark guilty of three counts each of rape and kidnapping for a string of vicious attacks that took place in October 2006. Each count also included gun specifications. Judge Shannon Gallagher subsequently found Clark guilty of being a sexually violent predator.

"Serial rapists, like Moses Clark, have no business walking around in our community, and now, he'll never enjoy another day of freedom," said assistant county prosecutor Maxwell Martin, who represented the state of Ohio in this case, along with assistant county prosecutors Edward Brydle and Lindsay Raskin. "His repeated victimization of women in our community has come to an end."

Evidence at trial proved Clark attacked and raped three women between Oct. 3 and Oct. 31, 2006.

The first victim was an 18-year-old woman, whom he abducted at gunpoint and drove to the parking lot of a church on Central Avenue in Cleveland, where he raped her.

A week later, Clark forced a 19-year-old woman to get into his car by threatening her with a gun. He took her to the same church and raped her.

For the final attack, Clark and another man forced a 20-year-old woman into a car at gunpoint. They took her to an abandoned house on Addison Avenue, where she was held down and raped.

All three women went to hospitals for treatment and the collection of evidence. This evidence, when tested as part of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, implicated Clark.

At the time of the 2006 rapes, Clark was on parole following a 1989 conviction for rape. He was returned to prison on a parole violation in 2008, and was about to be released in January of this year, when investigation by the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force led to his indictment on the 2006 charges.

"Throughout this entire process, Mr. Clark has never shown any remorse for his actions," said Martin. "Even today at sentencing, he was defaming the women he attacked and feigning innocence. He wanted the court to believe that his three victims — who had never met each other — not only concocted stories that were amazingly similar, but somehow managed to end up in hospital emergency rooms with his DNA in them. Judge Gallagher did not buy these outrageous lies, and now Mr. Clark will spend the rest of his life paying the price of his unforgivable conduct."

Also this week, Ohio legislature proposed to extend the statute of limitations for rape cases to 25 years. House Bill 6 was passed by the General Assembly to extend the current statute of limitations by five years. If DNA evidence links a suspect to an attack after 25 years have passed, the bill also adds another five years for possible prosecution after the DNA match is made. The bill, which was sponsored by representatives Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township), will now go to Gov. John Kasich to be signed into law.

"My office's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative has proven that modern DNA technology has changed the way we should look at prosecuting rape cases," said DeWine. "I applaud the work of the legislature to give sexual assault survivors and law enforcement more opportunities to pursue justice."

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