Radio Host Hopes to Change Statute of Limitation Laws Regarding Sexual Abuse
March 21, 2016
A radio host and homeless advocate in Murfreesboro just recently filed a police report regarding alleged sexual child abuse that occurred decades ago when he was a young child.
Since so much time has passed, his alleged accuser will not face any charges.
However, there’s a bill that is making its way through the state legislature that would give underage victims more time to report allegations.
WGNS radio host Scott Walker often has to read the news about child sex crimes.
“Many times I do report that,” Walker told News 2. “The good thing about that is there’s closure for many of the victims in those cases because someone has been arrested, somebody has been convicted in a lot of the cases.”
But for years, Walker said he’s been hiding a big secret of his own involving sexual abuse.
“Back when I was 11, 12, and even 13, I was sexually abused by a man living in our neighborhood,” Walker recalled.
It’s our policy at News 2 not to identify sexual assault victims, but Walker wanted to share his story.
Walker recently filed a report with Murfreesboro police and was interviewed by sex crimes Detective Tommy Roberts, who has since located the man who allegedly abused him as a child.
“During that interrogation, that lasted for roughly two hours, the man surprisingly opened up to Detective Roberts and did admit to what took place,” Walker said.
According to the report, Roberts wrote, “The suspect would have been between the ages of 17 to 20. I interviewed [the suspect] on 2-17-2016. Based on all the evidence obtained I believe that [suspect] did indeed molest the [victim].”
“I discussed the case with the District Attorney’s Office and it appears that the statute of limitations prevents me from charging [the suspect],” Roberts wrote.
Now, through the lens of his camera, Walker captures the heartache of the homeless community, but said he turned to the bottle to cope with pain he went through.
“I started drinking at about 13 years of age and continued to do so up to age 36,” Walker, who is now 40, said.
Walker said he is now sober.
“Finally overcoming that with the help of Branches Recovery Center and also Cumberland Heights and going through their programs,” Walker said.
The statute of limitations, for child abuse victims, has gotten the attention of state lawmakers.
“Somebody, like this individual you’re talking about, could be the poster child for this bill and be able to go out and say look folks you do it, I couldn’t, but you could,” Senate Bill 1841 sponsor Senator Todd Gardenhire said.
The bill would in essence extend the statute of limitation for child rape victims from four years to 15 years after they turn 18, to bring forth the claims and file charges.
The bill was amended from 25 years.
“A lot of times when that happens to a child, and that’s what they are when the rape happened, they are emotionally distraught and not able to make a discussion for themselves on how to report it or identity or describe what happened because they are emotionally torn up,” Gardenhire said.
Walker said that’s not long enough.
“Maybe set an age on it to where if you’re the victim of a child rape 13 or under when it occurred, the statute of limitation is indefinitely, kind of similar to murder case because the lasting impact is indefinitely on the victim,” Walker said.
Walker knows the law wouldn’t help him, but will help others.
“There are so many people out there, who have been through similar things, and they are still slowing either recovering from it or falling deeper into a hole because of it,” Walker said. “The devastation that sexual abuse can cause when someone is a child last throughout their life.”
Senate Bill 1841 passed Monday afternoon on the Senate floor anonymously 32-0.
House Bill 2120, sponsored by Representative Gerald McCormick, will be taken up in the Finance, Ways and Means Sub-committee on Wednesday.