BELOIT, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed criminal charges against Jason A. Smith as the result of the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI) and an investigation by Beloit Police Department and the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). WiSAKI is a statewide effort to address the decades-long accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits that were in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals. DOJ filed the criminal complaint in Rock County, charging Smith with two felony counts for the sexual assault of a 13 year-old victim in 2000.
Mr. Smith, who is currently serving time for other sexual assault convictions, was charged today with two counts of Sexual Assault of a Child While Armed with a Dangerous Weapon. DNA evidence from the victim’s sexual assault kit matched that of Mr. Smith.
This case was investigated by DCI SAKI agents and the Beloit Police Department. Victim services are being provided by DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services SAKI team and the Sexual Assault Recovery Program. DOJ is prosecution the case at the request of the Rock County District Attorney’s Office.
A defendant in a criminal case is innocent until proven guilty.
WiSAKI is a statewide effort to address the accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits and reform the systems that caused the accumulation. In September 2015, DOJ was awarded several grants from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance as part of a $110-million-plus national SAKI effort supporting multiple jurisdictions addressing sexual assault reform—including testing unsubmitted SAKs, investigating and prosecuting these cases, and supporting victims.
DOJ has also filed charges against two other individuals as the result of WiSAKI kit testing: Aaron J. Heiden, Winnebago County 2018CF000130; and Leroy R. Whittenberger, Waupaca County 2018CF000129.
In addition to testing these sexual assault kits and investigating the cases that may arise, DOJ has laid out the following plan:
- Create a team dedicated to WiSAKI to assist local jurisdictions with victim notification protocols, as well as with the investigation and prosecution of cases that may arise from the testing of unsubmitted sexual assault kits. The team is made up of one victim services specialist, two special agents, one assistant attorney general, and one research analyst.
- Complete an inventory of all unsubmitted sexual assault kits at all programs and hospitals conducting sexual assault forensic exams and at the state’s 557 law enforcement agencies.
- Test unsubmitted sexual assault kits that have been designated for testing.
- Expand the sexual assault response training program to equip more law enforcement officers, prosecutors, sexual assault nurse examiners, and victim advocates with the specialized knowledge and resources needed to properly respond to sexual assault cases.
- Implement a sexual assault kit tracking system that will track a kit from the point of manufacture, to hospitals, to law enforcement, and through submission to the state crime lab. This system is intended to offer an option for survivors to access information about the location of their kit and will provide a mechanism for the ongoing auditing of sexual assault kit submissions.
Any survivor who had a sexual assault kit collected and does not know if their kit was tested for the presence of DNA evidence can call 1-800-446-6564 or go to ByYourSideWI.org for information and assistance. Survivors will also be referred to local advocacy and support services.
For more information about Attorney General Schimel’s efforts to address the accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits, and to see regular updates on testing results as they come in, go to wisaki.doj.wi.gov.