Legislation introduced by State Representative Keith R. Wheeler, R-Oswego, to eliminate the statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault offenses has been unanimously approved by the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee. The powerful and gripping emotional testimony by the local mother of a rape victim on the need for the legislation, House Bill 2135, earned bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans alike in a 19-0 committee vote on Tuesday.
“Back in 2017, the state wisely removed the statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault in cases where the victim is under the age of 18,” Representative Wheeler said. “We should go one step further moving forward and protect all victims of sexual assault, regardless of the victim’s age.”
“Advances in DNA testing have made it possible to solve decades-old cases with evidence that wasn’t available at the time,” Wheeler added. “That’s why this legislation is particularly important now, to allow modern technology to help obtain justice for more victims of sexual assault.”
Testifying on behalf of Representative Wheeler’s bill in committee was Maryann Brzoska of Yorkville, mother of a rape victim:
“The passage of HB 2135 is imperative. Like I said when I testified in Springfield on this issue last May, the clock is ticking. Many times drug dealers are given longer jail sentences than rapists. People ask for drugs. No one, including my daughter, asked to be raped. Please pass this bill to give law enforcement time to complete an investigation and take a case to court when necessary. Please allow prosecutors to seek justice for my daughter and other victims like her by doing away with the statute of limitations on sexual assault,” Brzoska said while sharing her daughter’s harrowing story with the committee.
Currently, the statute of limitations is within 10 years of the commission of the offense for victims who are over the age of 18 at the time of the sexual assault, if the victim reported the offense to law enforcement within 3 years of the offense.
House Bill 2135 now advances to the full House of Representatives for a final vote prior to the April 12 deadline to pass legislation that originated in the House. For questions or more information, please call Representative Wheeler’s office at (630) 345-3464.