“There’s greater understanding among lawmakers that we’re not keeping pace with these individuals,” she said.“Someone’s brain is impacted by trauma, and it’s going to take them some time.” Nationwide, seven states have completely dismantled statutes of limitations for felony sex crimes, according to Rainn. She credited Illinois’ passage of that legislation with the “powerful and courageous testimony of survivors,” many of them speaking publicly for the first time after years of silence, anger and shame. house speaker Dennis Hastert was convicted of breaking banking law, but crimes to which he confessed in court — sexually abusing multiple high school boys in Illinois while he served as their wrestling coach nearly four decades ago — would never be prosecuted. A year later, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared the state had removed the criminal statute of limitation for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual abuse against children.Jerry Brown signed the Justice for Victims Act into law.
States are “behind the curve” when rolling back statutes of limitations for adults who were targeted for sexual abuse, compared to efforts to make justice more accessible for childhood survivors of abuse, Hamilton said, “but there’s no question there’s been some piggybacking.” Some states started more sweeping rollbacks on statutes of limitations for incidents of sexual violence long before the latest series of incidents received national attention.“We’ve hit a point where people aren’t going to look the other way,” she said.“The onus is on us to seize upon the moment.” With each rollback, she said survivors of sexual abuse have more time to heal before fighting to seek justice.These time limits vary from crime to crime, and between states.That’s a big problem for victims of sexual violence who may need years or even decades to fully process trauma and understand what happened to them, said Rebecca O’Connor, who directs public policy for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, also known as RAINN, which tracks sexual offense statutes of limitation by state.