Thursday, September 22, 2011

A black 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 linked him to the crime

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 African-American 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 and was taken and semen identified. 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. Buchanan, 45, was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail. He has been on disability leave from the sheriff's department since November 2010, officials said. The sheriff's office has begun proceedings to fire him, they said.

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