A huge surprise has just popped up. Something that victims and advocates have dreamed of for years. There is a bill in the Oregon State House, HB 3057, that eliminates the criminal statute of limitations on sex crimes against minors! This change has been my number one goal since becoming a victim advocate. It was introduced by Rep Dave Hunt, the husband of the Executive Director of The Children’s Center in Oregon City.
As you are all aware, most victims don’t tell what happened to them for years, and then it is frequently only after years of therapy that they feel able to report what happened to them.
Currently, once the victim turns 30, the perpetrator is off scott free even though most survivors suffer for the rest of their lives. At least 13 other states have no statute of limitations on this horrific crime. They treat it the same as murder, which if you are a survivor, you understand why.
Statistics tell us only 10% of sexual abuse cases are reported. We prosecute 10-25% of reported cases. That means we charge less than 3% of all perpetrators. The rest are walking around looking for new victims. This will change that. It tells perpetrators we will not forgive or forget what you did no matter how much time has past. If we all come out in force we can make a cultural change that says we truly do honor and support our children.
This bill has a public hearing March 7 at 1pm in room 343 in the State Capitol before the House Judiciary Committee. If you can join me there, great. If you can’t and you still believe in this change please join me and write committee members and your local State Rep. A similar bill was just past this week in the Washington State House 98-0 because of the support it received.
– Randy Ellison