Brooklyn, NY – The five-year statute of limitations on rape in the State of New York is one of the shortest in the nation. During a press conference held on Tuesday, June 20th, State Senator Kevin Parker offered his full support as momentum continues to build to repeal this statute.
"Just as there are no arbitrary time limits on seeking justice in murder cases, a crime as heinous as rape deserves full investigation and prosecution, regardless of how many years have passed," said Senator Parker. "These are just common sense criminal justice policies."
The National Organization for Women–New York State Inc. has further propelled the battle against the statute of limitations by lobbying lawmakers. "In a bi-partisan effort, NOW-NYS stands with members of the Senate and Assembly to urge the passage of legislation that will virtually change the lives of every woman in New York," stated Marcia A. Pappas, President of NOW-NYS. "With an election year upon us, women in New York State want to know whom they can count on. It is time to pass real and meaningful legislation to end the statute of limitations in rape cases."
National statistics show that one in six women has been a victim of sexual assault. Repealing the statute of limitations on rape would facilitate the prosecution of individuals who would otherwise evade punishment due to the lapse of a specific time period.
"The trauma often suffered by victims of violent crimes can leave them with a lifetime of severe physical and emotional scars," said Senator Parker. "The suffering and ramifications do not disappear at the five year anniversary of when the crime occurred. Eliminating the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases will send a clear message to survivors that the criminal justice system works in their best interest."
Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to bring an end to the statute in criminal cases. The Assembly recently passed a similar version in a near unanimous vote as well, which eliminates the statute in both criminal and civil cases. The passing of these two bills is an immense breakthrough in this process and will serve to provide criminal prosecutors additional years to charge rapists and offer victims additional rights.
In recognition of the need for stronger laws, Senator Parker urged the State Legislature to end the stalemate and come to an agreement: "The statutes of limitations for rape need to be abolished in New York," he said. The survivor and other potential victims of the same offender deserve that much."