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Bill Slightly Extends Statute Of Limitations For Child Sex Crimes

Brandon Smith
IPB News

Legislation changed and approved by a Senate committee Tuesday makes an incremental step to give more time to prosecute child sex crimes.

But the original bill went a lot further.

Current law says child sex crimes must be prosecuted before the victim turns 31 years old. The new bill slightly extends that. It says if new evidence – DNA, an audio or video recording, or a confession – is discovered after the victim turns 31, the crime can be prosecuted within five years of that evidence coming out.

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Vice President Camille Cooper says that’s a good step.

“It’s important that prosecutors and law enforcement have more time … when there is enough evidence,” Cooper says.

But the bill originally eliminated the statute of limitations entirely for child sex crimes and rape. That’s what Joy Ryder still wants. She is a sexual assault victim who came forward after the statute of limitations expired.

“That’s what they need," Ryder says. "That gives them hope of justice no matter how far it is down the road.”

Eliminating the statute of limitations couldn’t get support in committee.

Contact Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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.