The Oregon Senate has approved a bill doubling the amount of time rape victims will have to press charges. It now goes to Governor Kate Brown for her signature.
The bill extends the statute of limitations for rape to 12 years.
It will apply to future crimes, and those that have taken place within the past six years. Senator Floyd Prozanzki chairs the Judiciary Committee. He says the justice system should recognize that trauma may prevent victims from reporting rape right away.
“I think it was appropriate for us to give additional time for victims to be able to come forward.”
Victims’ advocates had pressed the legislature to extend the statute of limitations even further. About half the states place no time limit on when a victim can file rape charges. Oregon does make an exception for cases based on DNA identification, which can be filed at any time.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys opposed the change. They said key evidence that can clear a person including text messages will not last 12 years. Prozanski says more changes to the law could come in the next session.
Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting