Senate Committee Approves Rape Statute Extension

Jan 21, 2015

The statute of limitations now is five years from the crime. The law would allow newly discovered evidence to restart the clock.
Credit Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

Under current law, the statute of limitations to prosecute for rape is five years.  Jenny Ewing, a former Indiana resident, says she was raped in 2005 but, in her words, “made the mistake” of not reporting it. 

Her attacker recently confessed to police…but because the five-year statute of limitations had expired, authorities were unable to prosecute him. 

Sen. Michael Crider’s (R-Indianapolis) legislation would expand the statute of limitations in two circumstances – if DNA evidence were discovered tying a rapist to the crime or if the person confesses to the crime. 

In those scenarios, the five-year window for prosecution would not start when the crime was committed, but when that evidence was uncovered.  Crider says many times, attackers are tied to rape crimes when they’re arrested for something else, years later.

“Somebody is found a confirmed match of an incident that may have happened 20 or 30 years before – I think it’s appropriate for them to be held accountable for that act,” he says.

Some victim advocates criticized the bill because they say it doesn’t go far enough.  They argue there should be no statute of limitations for rape.