State must take action on statute of limitations Senate bill

Marietta Tiimes

Jan. 2, 2020

As victims in Marietta are interviewed about encounters with a possible serial rapist when they were children, a bill that would have extended their ability to seek justice for those crimes seems to be dormant in Ohio.

Senate Bill 162, which would have eliminated the statute of limitations for rape, was introduced in 2019 and had hearings late in the year. Now, there is no word about its future. We hope it can be reintroduced in this new year and put into law. Seven other states have already removed the statue of limitations for felony sex crimes, including West Virginia, and it’s time for Ohio to do the same.

The case in Marietta is a perfect example of why. Richard Decker, 62, has been charged with rape in a case where he apparently started raping the victim when she was 5, with the assaults continuing on until she was 18. She’s now in her 30s. Police and prosecutors believe Decker had multiple other child victims and have already interviewed as many as 10.

What if some of these instances they dig up in this investigation reveal crimes that occurred more than 25 years ago, the current statute of limitations for rape? Should there be no chance for justice because the victims were too young, too scared, too traumatized to speak out when they were only children? Should Decker no longer be considered a threat to society because an arbitrary amount of time has passed?

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.