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Advocates Press for Second Hearing on Bill to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Rape Cases

Senate Bill 83 would give law enforcement more time to investigate crimes

4/13/2014, 5:39 a.m.

Columbus—Today, State Senators Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) held a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse calling for additional hearings on Senate Bill 83, legislation that would repeal the statute of limitations for the prosecution of rape and sexual battery cases. They were joined at the event, which also marked the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, by Katie Hanna, Executive Director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and a survivor of sexual assault.

“This legislation makes sense for victims and law enforcement,” said Senator Turner. “A paltry number of reported rapes result in even the apprehension of a suspect, and an untold number more are not reported at all. When victims are ready to come forward, law enforcement should be able to pursue justice if the evidence is there.”

Current state law sets the statute of limitations at 20 years, and if enacted, SB 83 would provide law enforcement more time to investigate these crimes once they are reported. According to Human Rights Watch, rape has the lowest prosecution rate of all violent crimes in the United States.

“In a case in my district, survivors of sexual assault discovered that they were not entitled to justice because the crimes happened too long ago,” Senator Cafaro said. “Justice should not have an arbitrary timeline.”

Katie Hanna, commenting on the under-reporting of rape, noted that lawmakers should give survivors an array of options when seeking closure. “It is important that we remove any additional barriers that stand in the way of justice.”

A survivor of rape and child abuse, Carson Tompkins, also urged support of Senate Bill 83.

“Everyone should lend their support to this bill because it allows victims to take power back from their attackers, and allows the victim to come to terms in their own way at their own pace,” Thompkins said.

Senate Bill 83 is currently in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.