Victory for victims of sexual assault: Governor signs Wheeler bill into law

Rep. Wheeler welcomes advocates from Mutual Ground in Aurora to the House of Representatives for the passage of HB 2135 on April 4.

Governor JB Pritzker has signed a measure into law sponsored by State Representative Keith R. Wheeler, R-Oswego, to remove the statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault offenses and thereby give law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to conduct an investigation and bring charges against a suspect without a time restriction. The legislation, House Bill 2135, takes effect on January 1, 2020.

“I would like to thank the advocates from Mutual Ground in Aurora and other local survivors for their role in this important victory for women and victims of sexual assault across Illinois,” Representative Wheeler said. “Advances in DNA testing have made it possible to solve decades-old cases with evidence that wasn’t available at the time. By taking this important and long-overdue action, we have now extended the opportunity for justice to every victim of sexual assault in Illinois.”

Prior to the signing of this new law, the statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault 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 was unanimously approved by the Illinois House of Representatives on April 4. It was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, where it passed 56-0 on May 21.

For questions or more information, please call Representative Wheeler’s office at (630) 345-3464.