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Effort to end statute of limitations on rape

In the state of Colorado, the statute of limitations for reporting a sexual assault is 10 years. There is no statute of limitations for sexual offenses against children under the age of 15. Rep. Rhonda Fields is planning an attempt to get rid of the statute of limitations on adult sexual assault. She plans on putting forth a bill to the legislation next year. This action is being prompted by the recent allegations against actor, Bill Cosby.

Bill Cosby has been accused of drugging and raping women in his early years as an actor. Once the first allegations came forth, more than 50 other women came forward making similar claims. Two women in particular have decided to push for this legislative change. One woman claims she never thought about pressing charges back in 1984, when her alleged sexual assault took place, because of Cosby's notoriety.

What will a change in the statutes mean should it be passed? If there is no limitation on reporting sexual assault, a person may come forward at any time against anyone claiming sexual assault took place over a decade ago. This might be very good for legitimate assault charges, but it could also provoke false allegations.

Delayed allegations are not only hard to prove, but they are hard to defend. Without evidence, which will no doubt be difficult in most cases to come up with after 10 years, the case must rely ultimately on testimony. An innocent person can be victimized for no other reason than to have their reputation and life ruined.

Assault victims should report an offense timely, when evidence can be collected and events are fresh. Over time, events become stale, and it is neither beneficial to an alleged victim or alleged defendant to try to prove guilt or innocence where evidence no longer exists.

Source: 7News Denver, "Colorado lawmaker Rhonda Fields motivated by Bill Cosby cases to end time limits on rape charges," Jaclyn Allen, Sep. 16, 2015

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