Griffey renews effort to eliminate statute of limitations on sex crimes

Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, is continuing his efforts this session to pass legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on certain felony sex offenses.

House Bill 1155 would allow prosecutors to bring charges at any time after the commission of certain sex crimes, including rape and rape of a child, child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and voyeurism. Currently, Washington's statute of limitations laws differ depending on the age of the victim, the crime committed, and other factors.

Griffey says providing this course of action for sexual abuse and assault survivors is long overdue, especially since a victims' relationship to their abuser could make it difficult for them to come forward.

“We should be empowering survivors and, at the very least, giving them a sliver of hope that their abusers will never hurt them or anyone else again,” said Griffey. “Sometimes it's a family member, a friend, or a respected member of the community. Coming forward isn't always easy, and victims shouldn't be penalized for waiting 'too long' to tell their story.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics' 2014 report regarding the socio-emotional impact of violent crime, 67 percent of individuals victimized by a stranger experience professional or emotional distress after the crime is committed. That increases to 79 percent for those abused by a family member or close friend, and to 84 percent for those who suffer at the hands of an intimate partner.

House Bill 1155 passed the state House last year but was never given a public hearing in the Senate. Griffey is working with legislators in both chambers to ensure his bill progresses further through the legislative process this year.

“The time is now to enact this legislation,” he said. “It's astounding to me that we've been dragging our feet for so long on this issue.”

The 2018 session began Jan. 8 and is scheduled to last for 60 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov