Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Retrospective Study of 150 Sexual Assault Cases
by Cavness, Shannon, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2011, 68; 1493637
Abstract (Summary)

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately one in five women is sexually assaulted during their lives.[1] DNA technology in combination with CODIS databases is a powerful tool for the identification of sexual assailants. However, without proper evidence collection, DNA typing from sexual assault cases could not be conducted. Thus the individuals responsible for the crimes would not be identified. In that vein it is absolutely imperative to discern the best methods of evidence collection, preservation and analysis.

Are there predictors of yield within the forensic medical report with respect to DNA profiling? The evaluation of 150 sexual assault cases collected by medical practitioners at Highland Hospital in Oakland California and examined by criminalists at the Oakland Police Department (OPD) Criminalistics Laboratory was conducted. Cases assigned the California penal code: 261 and analyzed by the Criminalistics Laboratory between August 2003 and October 2007 were examined. No other penal code cases were utilized. These cases include only sexual assault examination of female victims aged 14 years and older and were selected from approximately 300 forcible rapes per annum from the same time period.

Microscopic examination of the vaginal smear slides by the forensic medical examiner resulted in observation of sperm 13% of the time. When the examiner observed sperm, the crime laboratory scientist also observed sperm on the corresponding vaginal swab 100% of the time. The evaluation of these 150 cases resulted in probative DNA profiles being obtained from 100 cases. Oral contact samples yielded the only probative DNA profiles in 10% of cases. Twenty victims reported a lapse of consciousness. Potential oral contact samples from these victims were not ubiquitously collected. Policy should be implemented such that neck, face and breast swabs are routinely collected from victims.

Probative DNA profiles from the assailants were obtained in 100 cases (66%). A complete profile was detected in one case at 56 hours. The percentage of complete cases was not affected by post coital interval within a 72-hour time frame. There was only one case collected outside of the 72-hour acute window; this case was collected at 77 hours.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sensabaugh, George F.
Commitee: Green, William M., Panacek, Edward A.
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Forensic Science
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Forensic anthropology, Health care management
Keywords: DNA typing, Post-coital interval, Sexual assault, Vaginal swabs
Publication Number: 1493637
ISBN: 978-1-124-66464-4
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