Two House Republican lawmakers are speaking out and demanding action after their bills to help sexual assault survivors died in the Senate. John Sattgast from the Washington House Republicans reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: Bills die. It’s a fact when you’re in the minority in a politically charged atmosphere. But these bills are personal. . .
DINAH GRIFFEY: “I no longer felt safe at home. I was being hunted.”
SATTGAST: That’s Dinah Griffey who was sexually molested by her stepfather starting when she was 8 years old.
DINAH GRIFFEY: “Any time I was alone, it could happen.”
SATTGAST: For four years, her husband, State Representative Dan Griffey, has attempted to pass a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for felony sex offenses and bring victims the justice they deserve. Dinah’s testimony in 2016 to the House Public Safety Committee took all the bravery she could muster.
DINAH GRIFFEY: “We found holes drilled in the ceiling of the shower where he had been watching me. I didn’t know how to get out of this.”
Depending on the sex crime, a criminal can escape felony prosecution in Washington state anytime between three to 10 years when the statute of limitations runs out. But for the victims of sex crimes, the sentence is forever.
DINAH GRIFFEY: “As survivors, we live with this every day. It doesn’t go away just because the number on the calendar changes.”
DAN GRIFFEY: “I’m asking this body to push this bill forward because I don’t think there should be any free time that a monster that commits this type of crime should be free from prosecution.”
This year, the Griffeys’ legislation to eliminate sex crimes statute of limitations passed the House, just like the past three years, and went to the Senate.
It also looked promising when Representative Michelle Caldier’s bill to help sexual assault victims unanimously passed the House and went to the Senate. This, too, was also personal. Her daughter’s best friend was raped. Two hospitals later. . .
CALDIER: “They eventually did do the rape test. In all, it took a total of nine hours.”
Caldier’s measure would have required hospitals to notify a rape victim within two hours of their arrival that they don’t have rape kits or a provider trained in rape assault on the premises.
Unfortunately, bills die. And so did these in the Senate. But these were personal. And the fight continues.
DAN GRIFFEY: “They tell you in Olympia, don’t get emotionally attached to a bill.”
CALDIER: “I am so disappointed. And I refuse to stop speaking out for the rights of sexual assault survivors.”
SATTGAST: John Sattgast, Olympia.