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Changing Child Sex Crime Law

OPB | March 28, 2011 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:57 p.m.

A bill in the Oregon legislature would get rid of the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children. Currently, victims who are under 18 at the time of the crime have until they turn 30 — or 12 years after the initial reporting of the crime, whichever comes first – to press criminal charges. A similar bill seems to be stalled in the Washington state Senate after passing unanimously in the House.

Some in Oregon have deemed HB 3057 “the Goldschmidt bill,” after the disgraced former governor, who admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old. The victim, who died earlier this year, only spoke publicly about the crime after the statute of limitations had expired. If the bill passes, it would not be retroactive. So, Goldschmidt would not face criminal prosecution.

Those who voice concerns about eliminating the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of children argue that doing so would open the door to the possiblity of more wrongful convictions. They point out that many of these cases rely on one person’s word against another and that over time, evidence that could be crucial to the defense may not be available after a certain period of time.

Were you a victim of a sex crime when you were a child? Did you press charges? Why or why not? Have you been accused of sexually abusing a minor? What difference would it make to you to remove the statute of limitations for underage victims?

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