Kansas eliminates statute of limitations on rape, aggravated sodomy

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Kansas has signed into law House Bill 2252, eliminating the statute of limitations on rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

The latter is legally defined as sodomy committed against the person’s will, resulting in serious physical injury in addition to mental and emotional distress; under Kansas law, sodomy with a minor under 14-years-old, regardless of consent, also qualifies.

Minors under the age of 18-years-old have until they reach 28 to report an incident.

Previously, the statute of limitations was only two to five years after the victim turned 18; the extension is intended to allow victims of molestation or assault by a family member, whom may have cause to fear for their safety if they report it while still living at home, time to leave before reporting their abusers.

Just over 20 other states have no statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape. Only three other types of crimes in Kansas are without a time limit on prosecution, including murder.

It’s not clear what the impact will be on the number of rape cases that are prosecuted; time can degrade physical evidence as well as memories, but it will no longer be a factor in what cases can be investigated.

Earlier this year, several survivors of rape and assault testified about being unable to see justice served, despite having evidence such as recorded confessions, because the statute of limitations had run out.

Activists applauded the bill’s passing, both for giving survivors hope and for its potential impact on the prosecution of sexual crimes against children. Studies indicate that approximately 90 percent of sexual assaults committed on children involve family members or others in a position of trust.

429Magazine

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