Two brothers charged in serial rapes

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Two North Side brothers arrested last weekend in a series of alleged sexual assaults stretching back to 2003 had been in and of jail “multiple times” on less serious charges — but beefing up an Illinois law might have ended the sex attacks far sooner, a Cook County official said Wednesday.

Leondo Joseph, 38, and LB Joseph, 29, both appeared in court at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building Saturday and are being held without bond.

Leondo Joseph is charged in six sexual assaults, while his brother is accused in two of those, a law enforcement source said. All of the alleged assaults occurred in the city, the source said. DNA testing allegedly linked the brothers to the attacks, the source said.

While they were allegedly committing the sex crimes, the Joseph brothers had been arrested several times for less serious crimes, said Cook County Jail Director Cara Smith.

In some states, jails take DNA swabs of all inmates, whether they’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

But in Illinois, only certain felonies qualify for DNA testing, Smith said. And because the Joseph brothers were previously arrested and charged in relatively minor crimes, they couldn’t be swabbed, Smith said.

“Had Illinois law permitted swabbing offenders at any time during the years they were getting arrested for misdemeanor offenses while allegedly committing these horrendous crimes, they would have been identified much sooner,” Smith said.

Smith also said the Illinois Crime Lab is chronically underfunded, leading to a backlog in testing DNA samples.

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