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Sexual Assault Serial Offender Research Archive
This SAKI TTA webinar was held on Tuesday, October 31 from 2:00-3:30 PM EDT.
This webinar was presented by Rachel Lovell, Ph.D. and Misty Luminais, Ph.D., Senior Research Associates with the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University. 

It is a common belief among law enforcement and prosecutors that serial sex offenders maintain a consistent modus operandi (MO), or offending pattern. The standard investigative practices in many law enforcement agencies are to either investigate a sexual assault allegation as an isolated event or use the offender's MO to link other sexual assaults possibly committed by that offender. However, recent research from the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit research team at Case Western Reserve University is calling this practice into question. In their recently published paper in the Journal of Criminal Justice “Offending patterns for serial sex offenders identified via the DNA testing of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits,” Drs. Luminais and Lovell presented findings showing that serial offenders frequently assault both strangers and non-strangers, and often drastically vary their MO across assaults. 

In this webinar, the presenters discussed their findings and why these findings contradict standard practices for investigating sexual assault, provided recommendations for changing how law enforcement investigates sexual assault based on these findings, and included a discussion of the larger implications of this research for collecting and testing kits and following up on the results of the testing.


Rachel Lovell, Ph.D. and Misty Luminais, Ph.D.
Rachel Lovell, Ph.D., and Misty Luminais, Ph.D., Research Associates at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-AK-BX-K021 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.