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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer Strengthens Sexual Assault Laws by Extending Statute of Limitations

 

Hartford, CT – A bill doubling the length of time felony sexual assault crimes can be prosecuted cleared the Connecticut Senate Monday in a unanimous, bipartisan vote.

Authored by State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), An Act Concerning The Statute Of Limitations For The Prosecution Of Sexual Assault increases the statute of limitations to ten years for the violation of certain sexual assaults.

“Connecticut needs to catch up with the rest of the country. We have one of the shortest statutes of limitations for sexual assault in America. The bill we moved forward here tonight is a good step forward for victims of violent sexual crimes, and I am pleased that it passed with broad, bipartisan support,” said Sen. Flexer. “It has been well documented that many victims of sexual assault are sometimes too traumatized or fearful of retribution to immediately report such a crime and the current statute of limitations of five years is simply not long enough. The window on seeking justice should not be closed after an arbitrary amount of time.”

Nineteen other states, including Alabama, Idaho, West Virginia and most recently California, have entirely eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual assault. 

“As we have seen in cases like the one that was recently brought against Bill Cosby, it sometimes takes decades for victims to come forward – and often times it is that first disclosure that empowers other victims to come forward as well. Those people are no less victims of a horrendous crime just because they did not initially feel safe to come forward at the time,” said Sen. Flexer, who sits on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee where the bill originated. “This extension is good public policy and I am hopeful that in the future we are able to revisit this law again with the eventual goal of completely eliminating the statute of limitations, allowing more victims to hold their attackers accountable in a court of law.”

The legislation extends the statute of limitations to ten years for the crimes of sexual assault in the second and third degrees, as well as sexual assault in the third degree with a firearm. There is limitation of prosecution in Class A violations of sexual assault in the first degree or aggravated sexual assault in the first degree.

The legislation was endorsed by organizations including the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund, Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Senate Bill 1042 goes next to the State House of Representatives for consideration.

 

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