Persistence Data

Under normal circumstances, the maximum recorded interval between the act of anal intercourse and the identification of spermatozoa on a rectal swab is 65 hours (181). However, in one exceptional case in which a female remained prone in the hospital for several days because of injuries sustained during a sexual assault, semen was detected on anal swabs taken 113 hours after the act of anal intercourse (181).

Swabs should be taken even if the complainant has defecated since the assault. An unpublished review of 36 MPFSL cases of alleged anal intercourse in which the complainant had defecated before the examination found that in six cases (four female and two male) the internal/external anal swabs were still positive for spermatozoa, although only a few were present; one of these subjects, a male, had a positive external anal swab 52 hours after the anal intercourse (Allard, J., personal communication, 1998). Anal swabs have produced a positive DNA STR analysis up to 48 hours after the incident (Elliott, K., personal communication, 2003).

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