Bills Strengthening Protections for Sexual Assault Victims
08/07/2015Two pieces of legislation supported by state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, extending the statute of limitations for violent crimes if they facilitated a sexual assault and allowing more time for police and prosecutors to pursue sexual assault charges, were signed into law this week.
“The survivors of these crimes deserve justice,” said Moylan. “Expanding the ability of law enforcement and the justice system to pursue these crimes will help ensure justice is served.”
The first bill, House Bill 1418, extends the statute of limitations to 10 years for aggravated kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, or kidnapping if one of those crimes helped facilitate a sexual assault. It further stipulates that a prosecution may be commenced at any time if the offense is a sexual crime committed against a victim who is under 18 years old. Under previous law, the prosecution for those offenses had to be commenced within three years after the offense.
The statute of limitations was extended to avoid evidence problems in scenarios when evidence was collected after three years of the commission of the offense for crimes related to a sexual offense. For example, if someone committed a home invasion which resulted in a sexual assault, a prosecutor may have been bound by the three year statute of limitations on home invasion crimes. This could have impacted the prosecutor’s ability to gather evidence in the pursuit of the sexual assault charge. By applying the same statute of limitations to both crimes, prosecutors will have a greater ability to gather the evidence they need.
The second bill, House Bill 369, gives police and prosecutors more time to put dangerous rapists behind bars, ensuring that the time period to file criminal charges in sexual assault cases does not begin until all evidence has been analyzed.
“The police and prosecutors need the law to provide them with the ability to pursue these dangerous criminals and remove them from our communities,” said Moylan. “Allowing more time for investigations and prosecutions will empower more sexual assault survivors to seek the justice they are entitled to, and will hopefully reduce the prevalence of sexual assault in our state.”