Cleveland reporters helped DNA Task Force to convict rapists

Rachel Dissell (left) and Leila Atassi "Rachel and her partner started this," Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty tells the Columbia Journalism Review. "They are really the reason we are where we are." Rachel is (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell. Her partner is Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Leila Atassi. And "we" are the members of the Cuyahoga County DNA Cold Case task force, formed to investigate stalled or forgotten rape cases. In August 2013, the new digital focus by The Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group staffs on Cleveland.com launched with Reinvestigating Rape, a major investigation by Dissell and Atassi (published over a period of four days). It had begun with Dissell reporting on legions of untested rape kits sitting in police custody. "In some cases, the DNA sat in cardboard boxes for decades in police [...]