Re-testing sexual assault kits leading to convictions

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/18/2018) - "We start from the beginning and work our way through it. So, it's not like we get a kit and just go pick up a suspect, " explained Flint Detective Mona Patterson.

She said this work takes time, but she won't give up.

"It's like justice for me because with me myself being a sexual assault victim before, I understand what it is to want justice for yourself," she said.

Detective Patterson works with another criminal sexual conduct detective, a YWCA advocate, the Genesee County Prosecutor's Office and a private lab on each cold case, some more than a decade old.

"The labratory will contact us and they will send us information via email and say 'hey we got a hit back on this particular suspect'. We take a look at it, at that point in time, we start our investigation, right away," Detective Patterson said.

They speak with the victim first to see if her or she wants to move forward.

"It's a very emotional experience. Most, many of them are upset when you first come because they think you've forgotten about 'em," she explained. And, I will say 99% have came around and after they're able to get their anger or their emotions out, they're able to move forward with the case and they do it successfully."

So far, she said the team has been able to arrest 30 suspects. 5 have already been sentenced.

Most recently, they helped put away Lamont James a repeat offender who had several victims, including one from 2010.

"He was sentenced to 17 to 30 years by Judge Hayman and at that time he asked the Judge not to be released because he was afraid the community would not be safe," Detective Patterson explained.

If you are a victim with an unsolved case, Detective Patterson wants to hear from you.

She's hopeful the 459 kits left will be tested before the grant runs out in October 2020. If not, they're planning to ask for a renewal.

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