Debate: Bill Seeks to Extend Statute of Limitations for Rape in California
April 13, 2016
Five of the women have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault, but at least some of the alleged crimes are too old for prosecution.
A state bill, SB 813, authored by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) would abolish all legal deadlines for rape, sodomy, lewd, or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation and sexual penetration.
The bill was heard Tuesday by the Senate Public Safety Committee.
During the conversation, our guests and callers weighed in with the pros and cons of extending the statute of limitations for sex crimes. Here are some highlights:
Co-chair of the legislative committee at the California Public Defenders Association, Margo George, is against extending the statute of limitations for sex crimes. As someone who has personal experience with sexual assault, she argued that the culture of silence around sexual abuse needs to change.
Margo George: Iím 66 years old. When I was 18. A friend of mine coerced me. At the time, I did not realize that Iíd been raped. And it took me many years to come to grips that that was what actually what happened. But thatís because of the stigma, the confusion and, not in my case, but in other peopleís cases, the power differential. But I think thatís the important part, for women and men to step up and say ďthis is what happened. It was not okay. Weíre gonna change the culture.Ē
Charles in Menlo Park called in to give his case for lengthening the statute of limitations. He said that, as a rape survivor, he can attest to how difficult it is to talk about what happened, especially for men.
Charles: I, myself, was raped over 10 years ago. I had just turned 18 at the time and if this was law now, I would absolutely come forward about it and seek prosecution. Itís taken me a long time to come to terms with it and to get myself to a place where, emotionally I can even talk about it. To be honest, thereís very few people I know that Iíve been able to tell. Before this point in my life, thereís no way I would have been able to go to the police about it and file a report and deal with all that. I think this law is absolutely important. Without it, it just emboldens sexual predators.
Jason in the Miracle Mile district said he was falsely accused of rape and is thankful the LAPDís investigation found that he was innocent. As a person who works in the entertainment industry, he said the statute of limitations should not be lengthened because it would increase the number of false accusations.
Jason: After gaining some relative success in my industry. These women will come out of the woodwork at you when they realize that youíve gained some financial success. So I feel for Bill Cosby. I think heís been framed . . . If we didnít have the statute of limitations, [these women] come at you like crazy.