For Sex Criminals, the Statute of Limitations Could be History

State lawmakers in Olympia took a big step toward eliminating the statute of limitations for sex offenses Monday night.  Dan Frizzell has that story.

There’s a statute of limitations for most crimes.  That’s the point where, if you haven’t yet been caught, you got away with it and can’t be prosecuted. And for most crimes, there’s a case to be made that it makes sense.  But there’s a growing feeling that with sex crimes, perpetrators should never be allowed to celebrate reaching that magic date.  For some victims, especially children, even admitting within that arbitrary window that the crime occurred can be frightening, allowing rapists and other sex offenders to go free.  The state House of Representatives has now voted overwhelmingly to put sex crimes in the same box as murder by doing away with the statute of limitations.  Representative Roger Goodman, the Kirkland Democrat who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, says at least some of the credit for this potential change in the law goes to technology.

“We’ve heard concerns previously from the prosecutors who said, ‘We’re giving false hope, because how can we, years later, bring a case where the evidence is so unreliable?’ But now, we have DNA evidence and other ways of conclusively establishing the identity of the perpetrator.”

The bill, with more than a dozen sponsors from both sides of the party aisle, was OK’d by a better-than 10 to one margin in the House and could begin its journey through the Senate later this week.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.