Prozanski prevails: Oregon remains safer for sexual predators

Sen. Floyd Prozanski

Sen. Floyd Prozanski

by NW Spotlight

Oregon has an unfortunate history of welcoming and making things easier for sexual predators.

Oregon has the second worst rate of rape and sexual violence against women in the nation. Oregon has the most registered sex offenders per capita of any state except one. Our current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, had to be shamed into supporting Jessica’s Law back in 2006 when she was the Senate Majority Leader – she had to be forced to stop defending child sex offenders. Democrats in the Oregon Legislature have successfully fought to keep extra protection for public employees who sexually abuse children.

Continuing on in this shameful tradition, state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) has now successfully blocked an effort to increase the statute of limitations in Oregon for rape from 6 years to 20 years. Using his position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Prozanski forced the statute of limitations for rape from the proposed 20 years down to 12 years, in HB 2317.

The NY Times reports “Twenty-five states, ranging from liberal New York to reliably Republican Wyoming, have no statute of limitations on rape at all.” Danielle Tudor, a rape victim of the Portland jogger rapist Richard Gillmore when she was just 17, was quoted in the NY Times this week saying that she “had wanted to eliminate Oregon’s statute of limitations altogether,” but “felt that a 20-year statute of limitations was a good compromise” after she and fellow Oregon rape victim Brenda Tracy met with defense attorneys who still supported the 6-year statute of limitations.

Danielle Tudor told Oregon Catalyst that when she asked him why the proposed statute of limitations should be changed from 20 years down to 12 years for rape, Sen. Floyd Prozanski offered several explanations, but eventually told her that basically it was because he said so.

Reporting on the HB 2317 vote this week, the Oregonian wrote “lawmakers are heeding defense attorneys’ warnings that extending the statute too long could compromise defendants’ right to a fair trial,” and that Sen. Prozanski “wants time to convene a work group and revisit the possibility of a 20-year limit.” The Oregonian noted “some of the survivors saw that as a thinly veiled excuse to avoid action.”

An objective look at the numbers reveals vastly misplaced concerns on the part of Sen. Prozanski.

The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that 68% of sexual assaults go unreported, and that “only about 2% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.” Sen. Prozanski should show more concern for rape victims, who are currently grossly underserved by our justice system.

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) was a chief sponsor of SB 8, which would have increased the statute of limitations for rape to 20 years, but it appears that Sen. Courtney has capitulated to Sen. Prozanski.

UPDATE 5/30/2015: Editorial in the Eugene Register-Guard – Change limit in rape cases (Deadline for prosecutions should be 20 years)