April 15, 2005
Bills seek to repeal limitations on child sex abuse cases
April 15, 2005 [Associated Press]
Austin, TX — One of two bills proposing to eliminate the statute of limitations in child sex crimes cases was scheduled to be heard by a House subcommittee next week.
The bill would repeal the current Texas law, which requires that such criminal cases against a defendant must begin before the victim turns 28
We cannot allow a statute of limitations to be a passcard for someone who is willing to do this kind of damage and harm and hurt to the children of this state," said Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, who filed the bill.
But some prosecutors don't think doing away with the statute of limitations will help victims, said Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Terry Keel, R-Austin.
"The statute of limitations are there for the benefit of victims," said Keel, a former prosecutor. "By eliminating the statute, prosecutors could refuse to go forward simply by telling victims on a righteous case that there is no statute of limitations. So there are consequences that have not been thought of that are anti-victim."
A similar bill filed by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, hasn't been scheduled for debate.
Currently, 17 states don't have statutes of limitations for these cases, and Texas should join that list, Ellis said.
"This legislation puts the prosecution of sexual crimes against children on par with murder and manslaughter," said Nathan Coburn, of Mothers Against Sexual Abuse, referring to two crimes that aren't subject to a statute of limitations.
Posted by Nancy at April 15, 2005 12:38 AM