The case was solved not because of detective work or a good working relationship between police and prosecutors, but because of DNA evidence that was collected and kept, despite police officers' and prosecutors' initial judgments.

"It is our job, our mission, as prosecutors to pursue justice for all crime victims," said State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy in an e-mail to The Sun. "For too many victims of sexual crimes, that justice comes years later with newly discovered evidence, most often the result of a cold case DNA hit."

DNA swabs taken from rape kits are routinely entered into a state database, which was created in 1994, police officials said, even if a case ends up classified as unfounded. Under a 1999 law, all felons convicted of violent crime have their DNA collected, providing a resource that police can use to try to solve other crimes.

At the time of the rape conviction, Mosley was serving 13 years in prison for a 2002 robbery with a deadly weapon. He is appealing the rape conviction.

City police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi echoed the sentiment that a better collaboration between detectives and the city state's attorney office could have improved the effectiveness of pursuing the women's cases.

Police "can't tell" prosecutors "what makes a good case, just like they can't tell us how to investigate," he said.

Even though the Ellwood Park rape case has been resolved, the effects linger.

The woman who faced Mosley in court said she's still angered by her encounter with police.

In the years since her attack, she said, she's witnessed a woman lie about being raped, so she understands that it can be tricky for police to pursue reports of rape.

But, she asked, "isn't it their job to tell the lies from the truth?"

Sun reporters Andrea F. Siegel, Peter Hermann and Justin Fenton contributed to this article.