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Senate Bill Would Extend Statute of Limitations on Rape Cases

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A Senate committee Tuesday approved legislation expanding the statute of limitations in rape cases.

Under current law, the statute of limitations to prosecute for rape is five years.  Jenny Ewing, a former Indiana resident, says she was raped in 2005 but, in her words, “made the mistake” of not reporting it. 

Her attacker recently confessed to police, but because the five-year statute of limitations had expired, authorities were unable to prosecute him. 

Indianapolis Republican Sen. Michael Crider’s legislation would expand the statute of limitations in two circumstances – if DNA evidence were discovered tying a rapist to the crime or if the person confesses to the crime.  In those scenarios, the five-year window for prosecution would not start when the crime was committed, but when that evidence was uncovered. 

Crider says many times, attackers are tied to rape crimes when they’re arrested for something else, years later.

“Somebody is found a confirmed match of an incident that may have happened 20 or 30 years before – I think it’s appropriate for them to be held accountable for that act,” Crider said.

Some victim advocates criticized the bill because they say it doesn’t go far enough.  They argue there should be no statute of limitations for rape.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.