Changes to child sex abuse statute of limitations mean justice for victims and prosecution for offenders
OLYMPIA – Changes made to the state’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases by the Washington State Senate will allow Washington to pursue more cases and prevent more people from becoming victims.
The emotional and mental trauma for the victims of child sex abuse takes time to process. In many cases, victims may not be ready to deal with that trauma and talk about what has happened for several years — often after the statute of limitations to file charges against the offenders in those cases has left prosecutors unable to act.
Working with the Sex Offender Policy Board, Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, has sponsored Senate Bill 5100 — legislation that aims to give victims time come forward to the authorities by eliminating a requirement that that an offense be reported within one year and extending the statute of limitations to prosecute the case until the victim’s thirtieth birthday. Hargrove says his bill strikes the balance between not having more victims and getting convictions and yet giving people the opportunity to have time to bring their case forward and get justice.
“The goal of all of us, I’m sure, is to catch as many sex offenders as possible and to convict the maximum number that we catch,” said Hargrove. “This not only gets justice for those victims, but also prevents more victims; and then we also want to be as sensitive to the victims as we can.”
Hargrove’s bill received unanimous support from the Senate and now moves to the House.
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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535
For interviews: Sen. Jim Hargrove, 360-786-7646