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Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) GranteeOrleans Parish (Louisiana) District Attorney's Office

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SIn FY2017, SAKI awarded the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office (OPDA) a grant totaling $1,009,485. OPDA has used the funds to create a Vertical Prosecution Unit for SAKI cases and provide resources for investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults, including (1) locating suspects and witnesses and (2) providing victim support and crime analysis.

In FY2020, OPDA was awarded an additional $1,949,672 in SAKI funding to continue building upon the New Orleans SAKI model that has been supported by two previous SAKI awards. The funding will be used to (1) maintain SAKI Prosecution Unit essential staff to support sexual assault survivors and prosecute perpetrators and (2) ensure survivor safety.

To date, OPDA has met several milestones and achievements through their sexual assault reform program, including the following:

  • Enhanced their sexual assault response team by creating a subcommittee to focus on sexual assault in transient populations; the Transient Committee works to develop programs and policies for the most vulnerable survivors—including tourists, students, and military personnel. Survivors who are homeless or have a difficult immigrant status are also vulnerable.
  • Attended a multidisciplinary 2-day workshop for 35 participants across the jurisdiction in June 2017; the SAKI Training and Technical Assistance team conducted this training.
  • Submitted all SAKs for testing; as of March 2019 results have returned from 39 SAKs—with 1 Combined DNA Index System hit linked to a homicide. NOPD's Cold Case Unit is actively working the case, along with support from NOPD social workers and SAKI staff.
  • Indicted a multi-jurisdictional rapist for five counts of rape and five counts of kidnapping; his DNA hit to five cases in Los Angeles (2015 to 2018) and three cases in Missouri (2004 to 2005).
  • Began engaging with the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office (OPDA) SAKI team in an ongoing assessment and mapping of the response to sexual assault cases; all agencies with multidisciplinary teams have been involved in these activities.
  • Crafted a resource brochure for sexual assault victims in conjunction with OPDA (see link below)
  • The New Orleans SAKI Multidisciplinary Team has created this great resource for survivors.

In FY2023, OPDA was awarded $2.5 million under Purpose Area 1 to continue to build upon the previous work under SAKI and improve the SAKI model in New Orleans. The continued work of the prosecution unit along with the multidisciplinary team members such as local law enforcement, site coordinator, crime laboratory, Orleans Parish Police Department will ensure that cases are completely reviewed and that all reports, recordings, medical history, witnesses, etc. are located. Additionally, a CODIS administrator will assist in ensuring all CODIS hits are addressed. This funding will also assist with secondary evidence testing where initial testing did not yield results. Y-STR, familial, Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) and phenotyping may be avenues to explore where initial testing was not fruitful. A subgrant to Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response will be used to provide additional services to survivors where applicable and provide quarterly training to staff at OPDA.

OPDA received a second FY2023 award in the amount of $1.4 million to continue to build upon the current program and support the prosecution unit under Purpose Area 4. Most of the cases reviewed by the OPDA SAKI Unit have multiple victims and charges associated with them. Many defendants prosecuted by OPDA SAKI have extensive criminal histories that require intensive investigation, resulting in the state interviewing and producing multiple victims of and witnesses to additional crimes by the defendant before and during a trial. Additionally, the funds from this SAKI award will be used to screen and prosecute cold case and CODIS hit sexual assault cases, entering all criteria cases into ViCAP. OPDA intends to create a ViCAP Lead position within the SAKI Unit who is tasked with ensuring that all criteria cases are entered in a timely manner. Additionally, OPDA will work closely with the Orleans Parish Police Department, hire an additional victim advocate and enter into a subgrantee agreement with the Sexual Trauma, Awareness and Response (a local sexual assault response center) that will provide additional support in contacting and interacting with victims. Funds will also be used to bring victims to New Orleans for trial and, on occasion, take staff to victims and witnesses for interviews in their locations. This will allow the SAKI Unit to establish important relationships with victims and witnesses being asked to relive traumatic events from many years ago.

For more information on the specific SAKI awards for this site, see the table below.

Orleans Parish (LA) District Attorney's Office Funding

Year Amount Purpose Area
FY2017 $1,009,485 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2020 $1,949,672 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2023 $2,500,000 Comprehensive Approach to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
FY2023 $1,400,000 Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults

Please direct all media inquiries to:

The New Orleans SAKI Multidisciplinary Team has created a great resource for survivors. See the brochure.

Orleans Parish (Louisiana) District Attorney's Office Grantee Site Representatives

News and Events

New law tasks Louisiana State Police to create statewide rape kit tracking portal
Fox8, WVUE, Jul 31, 2023
"Changes are coming to the way rape kits are processed and maintained in Louisiana. A new law taking effect Tuesday (Aug. 1) will make it easier to hold law enforcement agencies accountable for evidence that could bring justice to sexual assault survivors."

Man pleads guilty to three rapes over 12 years, is sentenced to 10 years in prison, May 10, 2023
David Releford pleaded guilty this week to three counts of simple rape. New Orleans police matched his DNA to sperm samples collected from three rapes spanning from 2006 to 2018 after the third survivor, a New Orleans resident, identified him as her attacker.

The District Attorney’s Office Secures Cold Case Conviction in 1996 Kidnapping
Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA), Apr 20, 2022
"This week, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Unit Chief Mary Glass and Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Naomi Jones secured the cold case conviction of defendant Roland Butler for kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault in 1996. SAKI Unit Chief Mary Glass said, “This case is proof that justice does not have an expiration date. In court, 26 years after the assault, it was clear how this crime still affects the survivor. She testified in court that time has not erased the memory of what she endured and how the incident left her looking at the world with a jaded lens. We are glad to be able to finally secure justice for this survivor and her family.”

Serial rapist pleads guilty to five attacks in New Orleans for 32-year sentence
Matt Sledge,, Sep 29, 2021
Man who was arrested in 2018 after DNA linked him to a string of attacks on women at knife- or gunpoint, pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape.

Casual chat between prosecutors triggers indictment for a 1975 New Orleans rape
Orleans Parish DA's Office, Oct 8, 2020
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Oct. 8) secured an indictment against a man linked by DNA results to the 1975 sexual assault of a Tulane University student who was raped at gunpoint in her Uptown New Orleans apartment. The 45-year old case was cracked open based on conversations between Cuyahoga County SAKI site and Orleans Parish SAKI site during the 2019 Assembly of Cities.

Eric Hill indicted for rape of Texas man beneath Treme overpass
Orleans Parish District Attorney, Feb 13, 2020
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Feb. 13) secured an indictment charging a New Orleans felon identified through DNA results with the rape of a Texas man beneath a Treme freeway overpass in May 2017.

Man charged with two New Orleans rapes reported 24 years apart, Dec 12, 2019
An Orleans Parish grand jury on Thursday charged a man with two rapes which were 24 years apart.

Andre Reddic indicted for rape, kidnapping of 11-year-old girl in September 2000
Orleans Parish District Attorney, Nov 7, 2019
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Nov. 7) secured the indictment of a man linked by DNA test results to the rape of an 11-year-old girl that occurred more than 19 years ago in the West Lake area of New Orleans East.

Serial rapist gets 35 years; women testify: 'You probably don't remember me, but I remember you'
Matt Sledge,, Sep 23, 2019
A judge sentenced Alfred Berry to 35 years in prison based on DNA evidence.

Man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting stranger on Lower Garden District street
Staff, Uptown Messenger, Jul 2, 2019
Orleans Parish DA's office (SAKI site) reaches a plea bargain with an offender from a 2017 sexual assault.

Jorge Hernandez indicted for kidnapping, raping 3 New Orleans women
Orleans DA, Jun 27, 2019
DNA links suspect to three separate sexual assaults spanning from 2013-2019. He has been charged with three counts of kidnapping and three counts of first degree rape.

Louisiana man charged with abducting, raping Indiana tourist
Associated Press, Santa Rosa's Press Gazette, May 31, 2019
DNA evidence from a sexual assault in October 2018 was uploaded to CODIS and led authorities to arrest a suspect.

Man sentenced to 40 years for kidnapping, rape
Fox 8, Nov 20, 2018
DNA evidence found from a previously unsubmitted sexual assault kit from 2006 that was tested using SAKI funds, leds to a conviction.

Inside look at how New Orleans DA's Office unit uses DNA to crack years-old rape cases
Matt Sledge, The Advocate, Jul 18, 2018
The New Orleans District Attorney's Office has used SAKI funding to reopen old rape cases. So far, prosecutor's have used DNA to solve 17 crimes including a case from 1986.

DNA links La. inmate to 1988 New Orleans rape: DA
Heather Nolan, The Times-Picayune, Jul 12, 2018
A Louisiana man currently serving time for attempted rape has been linked via DNA to a 30-year-old rape case in New Orleans.

With $1 million grant and DNA, DA's office hopes to bring closure to long-unsolved rapes
Heather Nolan, The Times-Picayune, May 18, 2018
With funding from the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, the New Orleans SAKI Unit has indicted 11 cases, has another 57 cases currently open and is investigating hundreds of CODIS hits.

6 women were kidnapped and raped in New Orleans in the 1980s. The accused attacker was just charged
Emily Lane, The Times-Picayune, Mar 22, 2018
Through the work of the New Orleans Sexual Assault Kit Initiative unit, a man was indicted for the kidnapping and rape of six women from more than 30 years ago.

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Our Mission

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative aims to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases. Through this program, funding is provided to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

This Web site is funded in whole or in part through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).

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