Lawmakers eliminating time-frame protection for child sex offenders

Apr 3, 2017 | Feature | 0 comments

Those who suffered sexual abuse and assault as children decades ago may soon be able to obtain justice by having their victimizers prosecuted.

State Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, introduced Senate Bill 189 in January, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for all felony child abuse and sexual assault crimes. It already passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee, of which Bennett is a member, with a 10-0 vote March 7 and is now awaiting a full Senate vote, according to Illinois legislative records.

“What this does is say, ‘This shouldn’t be so complicated,’” Bennett said. “If a child has been sexually assaulted, the timeline should be up to that survivor to come forward, not some arbitrary time deadline.”

As a former assistant state’s attorney in Champaign County, Bennett said he primarily worked on cases of child sexual abuse and assault, and his experiences were a motivator in drafting the bill. The statute of limitations on these crimes can cause victims to hesitate coming forward, he added.

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