Examiners failed to test some evidence in De Anza sex assault case

The Santa Clara County crime lab never tested some physical evidence seized in the De Anza alleged gang-rape case after the District Attorney’s office notified the lab that “no further testing was needed,” a crime lab supervisor has testified in an ongoing civil case.

That untested evidence, according to a written report submitted by a crime lab examiner, included clothing, a comforter, a vomit-covered paint can, and a sheet from the hospital examination of the alleged victim. In sex assault cases, such evidence is often tested for DNA that could link the alleged perpetrators to the victim.

The deposition testimony of lab supervisor Lynne Burley raises questions about the thoroughness of the District Attorney’s investigation, which concluded with a controversial decision not to prosecute anyone involved in a 2007 incident in which witnesses said a young woman had been sexually assaulted by members of the De Anza baseball team.

The crime lab is part of the District Attorney’s office. After Burley last week declined to talk to a reporter, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office contended that Burley does “not remember being told directly by anyone from the D.A’s office to stop testing evidence in the De Anza case.” That contention seems at odds with the testimony Burley gave under oath.

The spokeswoman, Amy Cornell, said in a written reply to questions that Burley meant that the district attorney’s office told her office of its decision not to file charges in the case, and that standard practice was to stop testing evidence once that decision is made.  Cornell also said in her responses that Carr’s May, 2007 decision not to file charges came only after “the testing of evidence had been completed.”

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