Spin Control

WA Lege Day 51: Prosecutions extended for child sex cases

Rep. John Ahern argues in favor of his bill on March 1, 2011. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)
Rep. John Ahern argues in favor of his bill on March 1, 2011. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA -- The House removed time limits on prosecuting pedophiles, allowing charges to be brought long after victims become adults.

With a unanimous vote, the House approved HB 1647, which eliminates the statute of limitations on the most serious child sex crimes, and extends it to 10 years for certain sexual assault cases involving adult victims. The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, said the change will give closure to victims and act as a deterrent to child rapists.

Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said that may be true for some victims, but noted sex assault convictions can be difficult even when reported promptly: "We will create some hopes that will be dashed by a prosecutor or maybe a jury."

The bill now moves to the Senate.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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