Griffey bill to eliminate statute of limitations on rape, other sex crimes passes House

A bill to eliminate the statute of limitations on certain felony sex offenses passed the House Monday. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Griffey, said the course of action his bill would provide to sexual assault survivors is long overdue.

“Survivors of sexual crimes suffer horrific things at the hands of their abusers. The least we can do is provide them a sliver of hope in prosecuting the monsters who commit these repulsive crimes,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “As the husband of a sexual abuse survivor said during the public hearing on this bill, ‘slim hope is better than no hope.’”

House Bill 1155 would allow prosecutors to bring charges at any time after the commission of some sex crimes, including rape and rape of a child, child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and voyeurism.

Current criminal statutes of limitations laws in Washington differ depending on the age of the victim, the type of crime committed and other factors.

“The truth is survivors of sexual abuse experience emotional distress well after the crime is committed,” added Griffey. “It’s not always a stranger who commits the crime. Sometimes it’s a family member, a friend, or even one’s significant other.”

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 percentage 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 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov