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Computer Glitch Delayed ID of Suspected Rapist

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A convicted child molester was never linked to the sexual assault of a Denver woman last fall because of a glitch in a computer that analyzes and transmits DNA information.

Thirty-five-year-old Brent J.-Brents is suspected of sexually assaulting at least five women and girls this month in Denver, but he's also accused of raping a 25-year-old woman in October.

A police technician tried to send DNA data from semen samples to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in mid-December. The C.B.I.I never responded, leading Denver police to assume the samples didn't match anything in state and federal databases.

But authorities learned last week the data wasn't properly transmitted -- because C.B.I. computers were being upgraded the same day.

The samples were eventually linked to Brents, but not until February 16th -- after the most recent string of attacks near Denver's downtown.

Deputy C.B.I. director Pete Mang says local agencies have access to the state system, so the Denver Police Department should've been able to compare the results to the database themselves.

Police and C.B.I. officials plan to meet this week to discuss how to prevent future problems.

Brents was arrested late Friday in Glenwood Springs -- about 150 miles west of Denver -- hours after he allegedly assaulted and robbed a sixth victim.

Formal charges are expected to be filed sometime this week.

Brents is being held on $25 million bond.


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