California has ended it’s statute of limitations for rape cases after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation filed in the midst of sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby. Some of Bill’s victims are coming out 20-3o years after the crime was commited and judges are saying that there’s not enough evidence. Cosby has said his relationships with his accusers were consensual and is facing trial in Pennsylvania on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. State Sen. Connie Leyva filed Senate Bill 813 amdending the penal code so that rape, forcible sodomy, and molestation of a child can be prosecuted, regardless of how long ago the crime took place.
Leyva praised Brown’s decision that goes into full affect after January 1, 2017.
“It shows victims and survivors that California stands behind them, that we see rape as a serious crime, that victims can come forward and that justice now has no time limit,” she said.
She wants victims in the state of California to know “that they matter”.
The new law will affect only sex crimes that take place next year or later and crimes that the statute of limitations has not expired by Jan. 1.
The statute of limitations for rape is 10 years, unless new DNA evidence emerges later on. Sex crimes against minors must be put on trial before the victim turns 40.
Many groups and associations argued the bill would disproportionately affect poor and minority defendants with little or no representation. However, supporters say the new law would help victims who are too afraid to report the sexual abuse to police until years later. Rape and sexual assault is usually committed by someone the victims know, which makes it harder for them to speak out, lawyers and advocates said. Shame, fear, and anxiety all come from the fact that the victims are wounded badly, but don’t have the confidence or support system they need until later in life.
An executive director of the California Women’s Law Center said advocates have been urging for such legislation long before women spoke out against Cosby.
“It is exciting for victims, and it puts perpetrators on notice,” she said.