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Statute of Limitations for sex crimes on the ballot

Colorado used the Cosby sex allegations as a reason to double the statute of limitations time for sexual assault charges from 10 years to 20 years. The Colorado House committee voted unanimously to approve the bill, which now allows victims of sexual assault to press legal charges for up to 20 years after an alleged assault. This was all prompted by two Colorado women alleging they were assaulted by Cosby at least 30 years ago.

One Denver women claims she was assaulted in 1986 by Cosby, and the other alleges her assault occurred in 1984 in Reno. The woman allegedly assaulted in Reno, Nev., says she could not have come forward back then or she "would have been sent off the planet." There are sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby going all the way back to the 1960s. However, Cosby continues to deny the allegations made by numerous different women.

Whether it is a good idea to extend the statutes is a question for citizens to answer themselves. According to one law enforcement official, the profession of gathering evidence is much better now than it was in the past. This allows investigations to uncover evidence that would never have been attainable to be used in court 20 or 30 years ago, thus, making an allegation of little benefit to the victim other than to smear a name and person's reputation.

Other states have also been on board with increasing the statute of limitation for sex crimes. Nevada raised theirs in 2015 from four to 20 years. Oregon and California are considering similar types of legislative changes. There has been some controversy about raising the statutes. Those who argue against it claim that evidence to prove innocence as well as guilt is often lost over the years, and witnesses' recollections may no longer be accurate.

The Cosby accusations appear to be setting new standards for sexual assault cases going forward. Fortunately for Colorado, the new law is not retroactive, so the 20-year statute will only be in play after the enactment of the bill. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, your legal defense will need to be well-versed in voiding unclear testimony or unsubstantiated evidence, as well as arguing the law on your behalf.

Source: The Tribune, "Bill Cosby cases inspire Colorado bill sponsored by Greeley lawmaker extending time for charges in sex assault cases," Associated Press, Feb. 11, 2016

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