A Cook County correctional officer has been charged in connection with the 1997 ongoing sexual assault of his 10-year-old step daughter in south suburban Harvey, according to the Office of Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Robert Buchanan, 45, has been charged with Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault, a Class X felony.Â The charges are the result of a continuing investigation by the Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office into dozens of untested rape kits that were discovered pursuant to aÂ 2007 raid at the Harvey Police Department which was conducted by the Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office, the Cook County Sheriffâ€™s Office and other law enforcement partners.Â The Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office has been conducting ongoing investigations into the untested rape kit cases since that time and has brought sexual assault charges against 14 defendants in 20 separate cases.Â
Charges against Buchanan were brought after Stateâ€™s Attorney investigators obtained a DNA sample from Buchanan to compare with the DNA that was originally obtained in the rape kit in 1997 but had gone untested by the Harvey Police Department.
On Sept. 12, 2011 Stateâ€™s Attorney investigators were notified that DNA from the sex assault kit matched Buchanan.
According to prosecutors, Buchanan sexually assaulted the child over the course of seven months while she was between the ages of 10 and 11 in the Harvey home where he lived with the child and the childâ€™s mother.Â In August of 1997, the victim told her mother about the assaults and she was taken to a hospital where a rape kit was taken and semen was identified.
The victimâ€™s mother contacted the Harvey Police who questioned the defendant but released him without charges and without ever sending the sexual assault kit to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for testing.Â
Buchanan had worked as a Cook County Correctional Officer but has been on disability leave since November of 2010 and the Sheriffâ€™s Office has begun proceedings to take action on his employment.