Sen. Tim Knopp
Salem, OR – A bill that would refer the issue of eliminating the statute of limitations for rape to the 2016 general election ballot was introduced in the Oregon Senate Thursday by Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem).
Senate Bill 973 would allow for prosecution of first degree sex crimes to be commenced at any time instead of being restricted by the statute of limitations. Proponents of the measure believe this would give sexual abuse victims a greater opportunity for justice since many sexual abuse victims go years before telling others what happened.
The bill comes after an earlier piece of legislation was passed this legislative session extending the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes from six to twelve years. Although the bill, HB 2317 A, received unanimous support from both legislative houses, many legislators still believe the bill did not go far enough.
“While extending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes to twelve years is better than what we currently have, the original hope for [HB 2317] was a 20 year statute of limitations,” said Knopp. “I decided to introduce SB 973 now because I believe victims of rape and sexual abuse deserve every opportunity for justice.”
However, despite the issue’s overwhelming support earlier in the session, Knopp wants to refer the issue to the public because he believes the legislature is not willing to pass an outright elimination of the statute of limitations themselves. “We put the referral in because the legislature unfortunately didn’t want to act this session. SB 973 would be the public’s opportunity to right that wrong.