Dem lawmakers demand action on statute of limitations bill after federal judge dismisses Strauss abuse cases
COLUMBUS– State Reps. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) called for action on House Bill (HB) 266, their legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal and civil sex crimes, after a federal judge Wednesday dismissed all outstanding Strauss abuse cases against Ohio State University, citing the expired statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims.
“Once again, Ohio’s antiquated laws have failed survivors of sexual abuse,” said Rep. Galonski. “Justice delayed is justice denied, and it is imperative that we take action to grant survivors the justice that they deserve.”
“This is just one of many instances of abuse survivors being denied justice due to Ohio’s outdated laws,” said Rep. Miranda. “It’s long overdue that we eliminate the statute of limitations to ensure survivors have a path to justice no matter how much time has passed.”
HB 266 would also extend the window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers from 12 years after they reach adulthood to 37 years and create a three year window for survivors older than 55 to take action.
Under the current Revised Code, prosecution against a perpetrator of rape or sexual battery must begin within 25 years after the commission of or attempt to commit the crime. This is an extension of the 20-year statute of limitations that was in place prior to 2015. While the existence of a statute of limitations for sex crimes had its basis in the idea that evidence deteriorates over time, DNA testing technology has advanced enough to detect evidence that is decades old. Seven other states have already removed the statute of limitations for all felony sex crimes: Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Introduced in April, HB 266 has been referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee, but has yet to have a first hearing.