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OLYMPIA — Sex crimes involving minors could be prosecuted until the victim turns 30 under a bill that passed unanimously this morning in the House of Representatives.
HB 1352 mirrors a bill that passed last week in the and seeks to expand the statute of limitations to allow prosecutions after a victim becomes an adult and is better able to report the crime.
Current law says that first- and second-degree child rape involving a victime 14 or under can be prosecuted until the victim reaches 28 but only if it is reported in the first year. Cases involving a victim between 14 and 18 can be prosecuted for 10 years if it is reported within a year.
Minor differences in the two bills will have to be worked out by the two chambers.
But victims of sexual abuse and their families told a Senate panel that doesn’t go far enough. There should be no statute of limitations on child sexual assault, just as there is no such limit on murder and some other homicide crimes.
A woman who told the Senate Law and Justice Committee she was sexually abused starting around age 12 said many young victims need time to process what has happened to them. They may not be able to do that until they are adults.
“Everybody deserves a chance to be heard,” the woman who identified herself as Shelly said. . .
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