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.