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since June 19, 2001


FBI Rape Statistics and DNA Testing

When reading the report from which the excerpts shown below were taken, consider that the FBI program of DNA testing of rapists didn't begin until 1989, and that therefore it is very likely that about 25 or perhaps as many as 40 percent of men convicted before 1989 of and serving time for rape are innocent.

Consider also that the DNA testing program took some time to come into full swing, so that even after 1989 it was quite likely that innocent men (as per DNA evidence) would still have been convicted of rape, although somewhat steadily declining numbers of them.

Consider further that the FBI doesn't become involved in all rape cases, only in those that are referred to it.  So, the actual number of innocent men imprisoned for rape must be far, far higher than one is led to believe by the excerpts.

The question still remains as to how many of the "rapists" whose DNA is a match with that of the semen found in or on their victims actually had consensual sex.  After all, even a wife can claim that she has been raped by her husband, if at any time she decides to do that, regardless of whether the sexual intercourse she had with her husband was consensual or not.

In the end, nothing matters other than what the woman says. And, as they say, "women don't lie."  Obviously, what they say is wrong. (In the US, there are an estimated 520,000 false rape allegations a year — 98.1% of all reported cases.  — Eeva Sodhi, Debunking Domestic Violence Statistics; Rape)

Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: 

Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

Full report at <http://www.ncjrs.org/txtfiles/dnaevid.txt>  

...DNA aids the search for truth by exonerating the innocent.  The criminal justice system is not infallible, and this report documents cases in which the search for truth took a tortuous path.  With the exception of one young man of limited mental capacity, who pleaded guilty, the individuals [28 of them] whose stories are told in the report were convicted after jury trials and were sentenced to long prison terms.  They successfully challenged their convictions, using DNA tests on existing evidence.  They had served, on average, 7 years in prison.


Indeed, there is a strong scientific basis for believing these matters represent just the tip of a very deep and disturbing iceberg of cases.  Powerful proof for this proposition lies with an extraordinary set of data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since it began forensic DNA testing in 1989.

Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI where results could be obtained (primarily by State and local law enforcement), the primary suspect has been excluded by forensic DNA testing. Specifically, FBI officials report that out of roughly 10,000 sexual assault cases since 1989, about 2,000 tests have been inconclusive (usually insufficient high molecular weight DNA to do testing), about 2,000 tests have excluded the primary suspect, and about 6,000 have "matched" or included the primary suspect.1 The fact that these percentages have remained constant for 7 years, and that the National Institute of Justice's informal survey of private laboratories reveals a strikingly similar 26-percent exclusion rate, strongly suggests that postarrest and postconviction DNA exonerations are tied to some strong, underlying systemic problems that generate erroneous accusations and convictions.

See also:

  • Update 2008 08 03:

    UK: 1 in 5 fathers wrongly identified as the father

    Patrick Wintour, political editor, The Guardian, Friday August 1 2008

  • Update 2008 05 08:

     Men are more visually aroused than women? Fact or fiction?
    Research Shows Men And Women Look At Sexual Photographs Differently

    (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/67705.php, 17 Apr 2007 - 8:00 PDT)

    A study funded by the Atlanta-based Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) analyzed the viewing patterns of men and women looking at sexual photographs, and the result was not what one typically might expect. (Full Story)

  • Assignment America: Innocent and damned

    By John Bloom
    UPI Reporter-at-Large
    From the Life & Mind Desk
    Published 5/6/2003 9:48 AM
    View printer-friendly version

    NEW YORK, April 30 (UPI) -- How can there be this many?

    ...in the words of Ron Williamson, the man who had been drafted by the Oakland Athletics but ended up spending 11 years on Death Row instead [for a crime he didn't commit]:


"I hope I go to neither heaven nor hell. I wish that at the time of my death that I could go to sleep and never wake up and never have a bad dream. Eternal rest, like you've seen on some tombstones, that's what I hope for. Because I don't want to go through the Judgment. I don't want anybody judging me again. ... I asked myself what was the reason for my birth when I was on death row, if I was going to have to go through all that. What was even the reason for my birth? I almost cursed by mother and dad -- it was so bad -- for putting me on this earth. If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn't be born."

  • The Innocents, a Book of Portraits and Interviews Along With a Photography Exhibit Featuring Individuals Who Were Wrongfully Convicted of Heinous Crimes

  • The Innocents: Someone Else's Crime
    Book, Exhibit Feature Photos of the Exonerated
    'The Innocents': Someone Else's Crime
    Book, Exhibit Feature Photos of the Exonerated

See also:

  • DVStats.org a search engine, aggregating research that examines the impact and extent of domestic violence upon male victims. (Off-site)

    This search facility equates domestic violence to intimate partner violence between men and women in relationships.  It does not provide information on violence between homosexuals, siblings or violence against family members other than heterosexual partners and spouses, such as infanticide, child abuse or violence against elderly in families.

Posted 2000 04 03
2001 01 31 (format changes)
2003 05 19 (added references to The Innocents)