Wash. bill on child rape blocked in Senate

March 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM
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OLYMPIA, Wash., March 22 (UPI) -- A Washington state senator said he plans to block a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child rape.

HB 1657 passed the state Assembly unanimously, The Seattle Times reported. But Sen. Jim Hargrove, a Democrat who chairs the Human Services and Corrections Committee, said he believes the bill is flawed because sexual-assault victims might put off disclosing what has happened, allowing perpetrators to continue to commit crimes.

"I have to be looking at all these potential other victims and mostly I have to rely on the advice of experts, who work with sexual assault victims and prosecutors," Hargrove said Monday, explaining why he does not plan to post the bill in committee.

The Sentencing Guidelines Committee also suggested removing the statute of limitations could be unfair to people accused of raping children because the passage of time would make putting together a defense more difficult, Hargrove said.

Rep. John Ahern, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the House, said Hargrove should allow the bill to get a committee hearing.

"The victim does not realize in so many cases that they were victimized until they're in their late 30s or early 40s," Ahern said.

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