Chicago Tribune, September 22, 20111
A Cook County sheriff’s correctional officer has been charged with the 1997 rape of a 10-year-old girl in south suburban Harvey after a DNA test allegedly linked him to the crime, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said.
The charges stemmed from a 2007 raid by state’s attorney investigators and other law enforcement agencies on the Harvey Police Department in which dozens of untested rape kits were discovered and seized, officials said.
Charges against Robert Buchanan, 45, were filed after state’s attorney investigators obtained a DNA sample from Buchanan to compare with the DNA originally obtained in the rape kit in 1997 but had gone untested by the Harvey department.
Buchanan was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault. According to prosecutors, he sexually assaulted the child over the course of seven months in the Harvey home where he lived with the child and her mother. In August 1997, the girl told her mother about the assaults, and she was taken to a hospital where a rape kit was taken and semen identified, they said.
The mother contacted Harvey police, who questioned Buchanan but released him without charges and without sending the rape kit to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for testing, officials continued.
He has been on disability leave from the sheriff’s department since November, officials said.
So far, sex assault charges have been brought against 14 defendants in 20 separate cases as the result of testing the rape kits found in the Harvey police station, prosecutors said.
[Editor’s Note: Harvey, Illinois is 77.2% black, 13,6% Hispanic, and 5.7% white.]