Rape victims testify to support DNA collection bill

Rape victims testify to support DNA collection bill »Play Video

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Victims of a serial rapist braved coming forward to urge state lawmakers to pass a bill that they believe could have prevented their attack. It would allow police to collect DNA samples from suspects of serious crimes at the time of their arrest.

"I was the victim of the rape that night," testified Laura Niblack. "I was severely raped."

Normally rape victims prefer to remain anonymous, but three victims of a serial rapist chose to speak publicly to urge lawmakers to pass a DNA sample collection bill (SB 6314).

The women were victims of Anthony Dias, who terrorized the Tacoma area and south King County in late 2005.

Georgia Cuddyback testified, "The results of his criminal activity haunted me still even to this very day."

They want everyone to see who they are and to support the bill allowing for the collection of DNA at the time a person is arrested for serious felonies, especially sex crimes. Right now fingerprints and photos are taken, but DNA isn't taken until there's a conviction.

Opponents of the bill say it infringes on 4th Amendment protection from illegal search and seizure.  However, supporters say a recent US Supreme Court decision said collection of DNA is no different than collecting fingerprints and taking mug shots.

In the case of these three, had the legislature passed this bill when it was introduced in early 2005, they believe Dias would have had his DNA on file from a previous arrest. After his 1st rape the DNA found at the scene could have led to his arrest before he had a chance to do it again.

"And I may not have been raped and he went on to rape about 22 other victims," said Niblack after the hearing.

Charissa Nicholas was tied up by Dias during that attack and said, "That's why we're coming forward and having a voice and saying 'let's make a change in Washington.' "

There are 27 other states that already have this DNA collection law.