Vestal: Victim seeks to extend abuse statute

The Spokesman-Review

Shawn Vestal
The Spokesman-Review

It happens every time a victim of child sexual abuse wins a lawsuit: the cries that these people are only in it for the money.

Only in it for the money. Only in it for the money. It’s a club wielded by those whose moral compasses are just spinning wildly. But the lawsuit-only system of addressing these past crimes does beg a question: What about other avenues of justice? What if the clock never stopped ticking on the criminal prosecution of child rapists?

Virginia Graham would like to see that happen. Specifically, she would like to see Washington lengthen its statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, and along with John Ahern – who’s done as a legislator but not finished with this issue – she’s turning that into a full-time mission.

“Right now, we only hold the rich or the insured accountable,” Graham said. “What kind of justice is that?”

In Washington, there are a handful of crimes for which the prosecution clock never stops ticking: murder, homicide by abuse, arson if a death results, vehicular homicide, hit-and-run if a death results. Graham and Ahern want Washington to join the growing number of states that are adding child rape to that list – or at least extending their statutes of limitation.

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