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Bill to eliminate statute of limitations for all sex crimes significantly scaled back

The southwestern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse at night.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Prosecuting most sex crimes in Indiana generally has to happen within five years of the crime being committed.

A bill that would have eliminated the statute of limitations for all sex crimes in Indiana was significantly scaled back by a Senate committee Tuesday.

Legislation headed to the full Senate, SB 151, is now focused on two crimes.

Prosecuting most sex crimes in Indiana generally has to happen within five years of the crime being committed. The five-year clock restarts for some crimes upon the discovery of DNA evidence, a recording of the crime or a confession. And if it’s a crime against a child, the statute of limitations runs until the victim turns 31.

A bill this session originally eliminated that time constraint for all sex crimes. But Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee Chair Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) said despite his personal feelings, he envisioned that measure struggling to pass.

Freeman’s amendment to the bill narrows it.

“So, if somebody commits a rape, somebody commits a child molest without a deadly weapon, that still is an egregious crime, obviously needs to be seriously punished. It would lift the statute of limitations in those two situations alone, nothing else,” Freeman said.

READ MORE: Bill to eliminate statute of limitations for all Indiana sex crimes likely to change

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Under current law, the only sex crimes without a statute of limitations are rape and child molesting if using or threatening deadly force, while armed with a deadly weapon, causing serious bodily injury to the victim, or by drugging a victim. There’s also no statute of limitations for child molesting if it results in the transmission of a serious sexually transmitted disease when the offender knew they had the disease.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.