In light of the recent discovery that Cleveland Heights police did not test rape evidence that was later linked to Anthony Sowell, who is suspected of kidnapping and killing 11 women, The Plain Dealer asked for more information about how the city investigates and handles all sexual assault cases.
The Plain Dealer reported on May 13 that evidence from a rape that occurred in Cleveland Heights in April 2009 was never tested by police and matches Sowell's DNA, according to Cuyahoga County prosecutors. This prompted the paper to ask for more information.
According to an article in The Plain Dealer, the city denied the newspaper's request.
Cleveland Heights Law Director John Gibbon said the information could be used as evidence in Sowell's trial, scheduled to begin June 6, and releasing it publicly could negatively impact the proceedings, according to the article.
"The City is unwilling to produce these records at this time in light of the 5/7/2010 Order of Judge Richard Ambrose in the case of State of Ohio v. Anthony Sowell," Gibbon said after each request, including one for statistics of the number of sexual assaults in Cleveland Heights. The gag order prohibits information related to the Sowell case from being released publicly.
Lawyers representing The Plain Dealer said that reporters are asking in general how all cases are handled, not specifically the rape linked to Sowell.