NBC KCR 3 April 12, 2016: Rape victims share emotional testimony at sex assault law hearing
CBS News April 12, 2016: California May End Statute Of Limitations For Rape In Wake Of Cosby Case
ABC News 10, April 12, 2016: Time limits on rape prosecutions could end
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —The California Legislature is advancing a bill driven in part by prosecutors’ difficulty in pursuing sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby.SB813 would eliminate the state’s 10-year statute of limitations on rape and child molestation charges.
“When only two in 100 rapists are actually convicted and go to jail, maybe we’re doing something wrong,” the bill’s author Connie Leyva, D-Chino, said. “No one is ever raped by accident. It is intentional and it harms these victims.”
Previous versions failed years ago in the Senate Public Safety Committee. But the new bill by Leyva passed the committee 4-0 on Tuesday after testimony by witnesses including lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents 30 of Cosby’s accusers.
Several of his accusers told senators they are unable to bring charges now because they didn’t come forward years ago.
Casey accused Cosby of sexually assaulting her but can’t sue because the statute of limitations for her assault is up.
“I can attest to the fact that once the act that is committed against one’s physical body is over — there is just beginning a body of pain,” she told the senate committee. “The psychological and emotional damage done to me was immeasurable.”
Lili Bernard said she was a guest star on the Cosby Show when she was raped.
“He endeared himself to me. [Cosby] lifted me up,” Bernard said at the committee hearing. “And when he gained my total trust, he trafficked me across state borders enslaved me by surreptitiously slipping drugs into my blood and then he raped me.”
Janice Baker-Kinney said she was a bartender at Harrah’s in Reno when she went to a party and was sexually assaulted by Cosby.
“All of us knew there was nothing we could do, but we knew there was something we had to do for future victims,” Kinney said.
Cosby has consistently denied sexual abuse allegations made by dozens of women around the country. Some of the claims date to the 1960s.
Opponents of the bill said it is emotionally reactive and based upon headlines.
“We want to make sure that the innocent are not put in our prisons and victimized merely for the sake of 25 years later someone coming forward for whatever motivation they might have,” spokesperson for Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety Matt Gray said.
Several other states are considering similar bills.
April 12, 2016 8:28 AM
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A new push begins in the California Legislature to make sure that sexual predators are brought to justice, no matter when they get caught.
State Sen. Connie Levya introduced a bill to eliminate statutes of limitations for rape.
Current state law gives alleged victims a decade to speak out against their accused abuser. A victim is only allowed additional time to come forward if DNA evidence is found.
The statute of limitations exists to protect defendants and make sure evidence presented in the prosecution hasn’t deteriorated over time.
This issue was raised after the Bill Cosby scandal when people realized some of the alleged crimes will go unprosecuted because the statute has expired.
“Unfortunately, I have the difficult job of having to explain to victims that in a number of states — including in California — that there is a time period called the statute of limitations,” said attorney Gloria Allred.
Dozens of rape victims spoke before the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday morning, urging them to move this bill forward.
“War criminals, no matter how many decades have passed, they cannot evade prosecution,” said sexual assault survivor Lili Bernard. “I’m asking you to do the same thing for us rape survivors who survived war upon our bodies and our oppressors, who are war criminals.”
Helen Hayes of San Anselmo is among more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of some form of sexual assault. Hayes hopes the bill passes to prevent other women from going through what she has for decades.
“If it’s abolished, maybe it will save some women from being attacked,” Hayes said. “You can’t just hide for all those years like he did, and laugh and say ‘They can’t do anything to me.’”
The Senate Public Safety Committee will consider this bill Tuesday morning at the State Capitol.
If approved, the bill wouldn’t take effect until next year and would only apply to the crimes committed after January 1st of 2017, and for those whose current statute of limitations hasn’t already expired.
April 12, 2016
The case against Bill Cosby took center stage Tuesday at the Capitol in a fight to make rapists pay for their crimes. Two of Cosby’s alleged victims passionately testified in an effort to end time limits that allow some accused rapists to remain free with no fear of ever being brought to justice.
“The psychological and emotional damage done to me is immeasurable,” said one alleged victim who went by the name “Casey” to protect her identity. Another woman described a violent attack when she was just a teenager. “He suffocated me with a pillow over my face as he was raping me,” she told Senate Public Safety Committee members.
The women said Bill Cosby will never have to criminally pay for what he’s accused of doing to them, because the attacks happened over a decade ago. Under current California law, if a rape was committed more than 10 years before it’s reported the suspect won’t have to face charges.
“The courthouse door should no longer be slammed in the case of victims,” the plaintiffs’ attorney Gloria Allred said.
Allred represents a group of women who are suing the TV star and comedian for assaults that they say occurred over parts of at least three decades.
Prosecutors agree with Allred. They’ve been prevented from bringing some rape cases under the current law, even when there is a mountain of evidence against a suspect.
“Because the statute of limitations, we cannot prosecute that case,” said San Bernardino prosecutor Mike Ramos.
The State Senate Public Safety Committee listed to testimony today from victims in favor of a bill authored by a Chino Democrat that could lift the time limits on rape prosecutions.
Senator Connie Leyva says Senate Bill 813 will bring justice for victims no matter when they report a rape.
“It is intentional, and it harms these victims – as we heard – for the rest of their lives,” Leyva told committee members. “Their lives are altered forever.”
A man representing a Sacramento-based taxpayer group opposed the bill saying if it becomes law, cases could clog up courthouses and people could be prosecuted unfairly.
“For example, if a person comes forward and says I was raped 25 years ago, and this is what happened,” said David Warren, of Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety. “Which of you, today, would be able to remember where you were and what you were doing 25 years ago?”
If the support it got in committee is any indication though, the time limits on prosecuting accused rapists could be a thing of the past by the end of summer.
“There is no statute of limitations on the devastating effects I have endured for two decades,” Casey said, during a press conference following Tuesday’s public hearing.
The bill passed out of the Public Transportation Committee by a unanimous vote, and it now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.