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13-year-old Kentucky girl reported rape in 1993. DNA test leads to arrest 25 years later.

James Ashley Fields
James Ashley Fields Whitley County Detention Center

Almost 25 years after a 13-year-old girl reported that she was raped in Lexington, a man was arrested this week in connection with the case.

James Ashley Fields, 47, is charged with first-degree rape after the sexual assault kit in the 1993 case was tested by the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab, according to his arrest warrant. The DNA in the kit was matched to Fields’ DNA in the National DNA Index System, according to the warrant.

The warrant for Fields’ arrest was generated on July 8 and was served on Tuesday, according to the document.

The investigation began in September 1993 when a 13-year-old girl reported that two men she didn’t know approached her and talked to her for a few hours before pushing her to the ground and raping her, according to Fields’ arrest warrant. She reported that the two men then put a rope around her neck and led her several blocks from her home before releasing her, according to the document.

The girl ran from the men, reported what happened to police and was taken to a hospital to receive a sexual assault exam, where DNA was collected, according to Fields’ arrest warrant.

When interviewed by Lexington police, he told detectives he’d only lived in Lexington for a few months in the mid-1990s and denied having sex with anyone other than his girlfriend during his time in the city, according to his arrest warrant. At the time the girl was attacked, Fields was 22 years old.

Fields is a registered sex offender. He was convicted of criminal attempt to commit rape in Tennessee before moving to Kentucky, according to the Kentucky State Police sex offender registry.

Fields is currently being held in the Whitley County jail, according to the jail’s website.

In 2015, the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab in Frankfort received a $1.9 million grant to clear a backlog of untested sexual assault kits. It was not immediately clear if the evidence kit from this 1993 case was part of the backlog of untested kits in the state, which at one point included about 3,000 kits.

With the exception of identical twins, each person has a unique DNA profile. This makes DNA matching a powerful tool for finding and convicting the perpetrator of a crime.