California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases

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Bill Cosby is accused of assaulting more than 35 women, but in many of their cases the statute of limitations has expired.
Bill Cosby is accused of assaulting more than 35 women, but in many of their cases the statute of limitations has expired.Photo: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

California is changing the way sexual assault is prosecuted. In the wake of the allegations that Bill Cosby drugged and raped dozens of women, the state assembly passed a bill on Thursday to end the time limit for prosecuting rape and felony sex crimes. The bill passed the assembly unanimously; it will now move on to the Senate where, according to the Los Angeles Times, an earlier version of the bill passed in June.

Under the state’s current law, rape and felony sex crimes must be tried within 10 years, unless DNA evidence comes to light after that time period. And sex crimes against children younger than 18 must be prosecuted before the victim turns 40. Cosby stands accused of assaulting more than 35 women in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, but in several of their cases, the statue of limitations has expired.

“There are some crimes that are so heinous that there should never be a statute of limitations,” assemblyman Travis Allen told the Times. Assemblyman Mike Gipson agreed, calling the bill “long overdue” and saying it would “ensure that criminals be placed in jail” no matter when charges are brought against them.