July 8, 2020
By Jennifer Osborn
The statute of limitations for reporting sexual assaults will prevent a potential case involving a priest or pastor from being prosecuted, according to District Attorney Matt Foster.
“I tried to see if the United States Attorney’s Office would be able to prosecute, but they didn’t think they could prosecute the case either,” Foster said.
Hancock County Sheriff’s Det. Stephen McFarland last week took a complaint from a New Jersey man who reported sexual assaults were committed against him between 1978 and 1980 in Dedham.
The statute of limitations is “complex,” the detective said. “It depends on the charge, the age of victim at the time, the date of offense and laws in effect at the time.”
Foster said “basically we cannot prosecute a late report that is alleged to have occurred prior to Oct. 9, 1980 for GSA [gross sexual assault] of a child under 16.”
Whether the accused has been out of state for any period of time during the statute of limitations is another factor, Foster said. For example, any time a defendant spent out of state after the alleged crime, can be added to the statute of limitation to extend it up to an additional five years.
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.