Measure extends time limit on rape charges

House bill deletes statute of limitations

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2001

A bill that would remove the statute of limitations on rape passed the House on Monday.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Kevin Meyer, an Anchorage Republican, said there should be no time limit on when a rapist can be prosecuted because the crime has lifelong impacts on the victim.

Meyer said new DNA testing technology and improvements in evidence collection mean prosecutors may be able to make an effective case even if they do not catch a rapist until many years after the crime.

Under current law rape, charges can not be brought if 10 years have passed since the assault.

The bill was amended Monday to also remove the time limit on when a victim of felony sexual assault or felony sexual abuse of a minor can bring a civil suit against an assailant.

Rep. Eric Croft, an Anchorage Democrat, said that would allow a rape victim to seek damages if the evidence is not strong enough to support a criminal conviction. The standard of proof required in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case.

Currently only two other crimes have no statute of limitations - murder and felony sexual abuse of a minor.

The bill passed the House 37-0. It now goes to the Senate.

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