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CSI Fired for Using Her Own Equipment Resulting in False Negatives in Sexual Assault Cases

A quality control check led to a retest of the employee’s evidence.

A Houston crime scene investigator was fired Thursday after an investigation revealed she had violated protocol by using her own equipment, resulting in false negatives that impacted two sexual assault cases.

The Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC) fired the employee after a quality control check led to a retest of her evidence, according to a press release.

The CSI had reported negative results for eight evidence items. But after retesting the evidence, HFSC found that three items came back positive for biological fluids.

A follow-up review of 18 of the CSI's cases, of which only three had evidence available for retesting, showed additional instances of false negatives being reported.

The employee was using her own alternate light source, which is used by crime scene investigators to identify biological fluids, like blood, saliva and semen. The instrument works by creating a reaction that makes a biological stain visible. The employee's equipment didn't meet the standards set by the Houston Forensic Science Center.

"Protocols and procedures are in place at HFSC to help ensure quality scientific results are provided to stakeholders. When protocol is violated incidents like this occur and HFSC cannot tolerate such conduct," Dr. Peter Stout, HFSC's CEO and president, said in a statement.

HFSC provides forensic services to the city of Houston and other local agencies. The Harris County District Attorney's office has been notified of the incident, and HFSC will also report it to the state's forensic oversight board.

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