Almost a decade after Alexenko’s attack, with the case nine months from expiration, the cold case unit reopened the investigation. The DNA in her rape kit was analyzed and entered into CODIS, the national DNA database. Four years later, the DNA profile produced a hit, linking it to a suspect and finally giving Alexenko her day in court. She almost fainted when she took the stand and faced her attacker in the courtroom, but returned to testify. He was ultimately convicted and given a maximum release date of 2057.
“In making SEX CRIMES UNIT, I had the great privilege of actually being inside the criminal justice system, observing first-hand the fierce dedication of the men and women whose goal is to deliver justice,” says Jackson. “However, what was most surprising was that although they were tenacious and compassionate and laser-focused, I was able to capture their true humanity in surprising ways: obsessing about TV shows, fretting a child’s college financing, cajoling cops, having babies, talking baseball and worrying about their weight. It’s odd to say that a film about sexual violence can be full of laughter and joy and the infectious pride of doing good work, but that was the reality I found in those cluttered offices.”
Lisa F. Jackson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose HBO documentary “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo” received the Special Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Her career spans three decades and includes an Emmy® for “The Secret Life of Barbie” in 1999, an Emmy® nomination for “Meeting with a Killer: One Family’s Journey” and numerous credits as both director and editor of projects that aired on PBS, ABC, CBS, MTV and the Hallmark Channel, among others. Jackson has screened her work and lectured at Columbia, Harvard and New York University, and was a visiting professor of documentary film at the School for Visual Arts in Manhattan.
SEX CRIMES UNIT is produced and directed by Lisa F. Jackson; co-producer, Jennifer Ollman; editor, Christina Kaufman; directors of photography, John Hazard and Guy Mossman; original music, M.G. Espar. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.