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Ohio effort to make all rape and assault illegal undercut by weak GOP proposal

House Democrats to continue pushing for end of statute of limitations for rape and assault
May 20, 2019
Democratic Newsroom

State Reps. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and state Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today criticized a new Republican bill that fails to outlaw all instances of rape and assault in Ohio, regardless of when they occurred.

Instead, new legislation from Statehouse Republicans, House Bill 249, narrowly ends the statute of limitations for civil claims relating to sexual misconduct by physicians of land grant universities between the years of 1978-2000, a carve-out specially tailored to the more than 150 men who claim they were sexually assaulted by Dr. Richard Strauss while attending The Ohio State University 19 or more years ago.

“Rape and sexual assault destroy lives and take a part of victims’ freedom and individual liberty that they can never get back,” said Sobecki and Galonski in a joint statement. “We’re proud to continue leading the fight to ensure all victims of rape and sexual assault receive justice. We’re disappointed, but not surprised, that this bill misses that mark so terribly by failing to protect the many other Ohioans around our state who are equally deserving of justice.”

Since at least 2015, House Democratic lawmakers in Ohio have been pushing to end the statute of limitations for criminal and civil proceedings on rape and sexual assault cases entirely. Democrats offered an amendment to do so recently to the state’s latest near-total abortion ban, but faced stiff opposition from House Republicans – including Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) the author of HB 249 – who voted 58 to 38 to kill the proposed law change.

“This sends the wrong message to victims of rape and sexual assault,” the Democratic lawmakers added. “This says some victims are more important than others. It says some rapes and sexual assaults don’t matter.”

Galonski has been working to garner bipartisan support for forthcoming legislation which would also outlaw marital rape in Ohio.