By Marc Kovac
Two state senators want to do away with the statute of limitations on rape and sexual battery, meaning perpetrators could face charges for crimes committed decades prior.
State senators Capri Cafaro of Hubbard, D-32nd, and Nina Turner of Cleveland, D-25th, offered SB 83 to repeal the current 20-year window for prosecution.
“It is important that we in the General Assembly realize the incredible amount of courage that coming forward takes and allow victims the ability to tell their story when they are ready and they feel safe, no matter how long that takes,” Turner told the chamber’s criminal justice committee.
The legislation had its first hearing Wednesday.
The proposed law changes come on the heels of a couple of cases of victims alleging sexual crimes but unable to pursue criminal charges because they were committed too long ago.
In one case, Cafaro said, a group of men alleged they were abused by a Trumbull County baseball coach in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In another, a rape kit processed as part of an initiative by the attorney general provided evidence to a grand jury one day after the statute of limitation kicked in.
“Justice should not have an arbitrary time limit,” Cafaro said. “These individuals have already been victimized once. They’ve developed the courage to come forward. ... They should not be violated twice when the come forward and learn that just because they showed up 21 years later that all of the sudden justice walks away from them.”