Proposed legislation eliminates statute of limitations on rape, sexual assault cases

CLEVELAND -- There is support from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Wednesday night after a state senator proposed a bill that would eliminate Ohio’s Statute of Limitations on rape and sexual assault cases.

“For the decade I’ve been working here we have been trying to remove the state of limitations,” said Sondra Miller, President & CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Right now, the time frame is 25 years.

“If someone reports or for any reason the charges can’t be brought forth within 25 years, the case is thrown out no matter what evidence is presented,” added Miller.

The bill was introduced at the Ohio Statehouse by Michael Disabato, the whistle-blower of the OSU Doctor Richard Strauss case.

"I was very nervous heading into the private coach's office where Strauss was prepping to abuse dozens of prepubescent male athletes, elite male athletes,” said Disabato.

High profile victim’s rights attorney Gloria Allred was to support the alleged victims of Dr. Strauss.

"This bill is passed in Ohio, statutes of limitations no longer will be the sexual predator's best friend and a victim's worst enemy,” said Allred.

Meantime, the crisis center said changing the law will help victims who often times find it hard to come forward until years later.

“I also think that survivors should get to choose who they tell their story to, how they tell it, how much they tell it, and when they tell it. And the more choice we give them, the more power we give her or him to heal and to thrive,” said Miller.

Time is running out for the bill in the state’s legislative session.  If it’s not passed by the end of the month, it would have to be re-introduced during the next session.

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