Cosby case raises issue of consent, statute of limitations

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(Dec. 30, 2015) -- The case against Bill Cosby also raises questions about our state laws here in Indiana, and what happens when the statute of limitations runs out?

The charges against Cosby come right before the 12-year statute of limitations had expired.

Here in Indiana, charges have to be brought within five years of a reported rape, but thanks to a new law signed by the governor this year, there are new exceptions if the state finds DNA evidence or if a confession or recording is discovered.

“In Indiana we have just passed (Jenny’s Law) so we have a five year re-start but sometimes that’s just not good enough,” said State Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis. “There are many gray areas but we also need clarity about consent and what consent is. The Cosby case seems to pivot quite a bit on that.”

“(Jenny’s Law) was a step in the right direction but I honestly think the crime is so bad… there should be no escape from the punishment of that crime,” said State Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, who is again proposing the state get rid of its statute of limitations on rape altogether.

Meantime, Hale wants the state to require sexual education dealing with the issue of consent.

“I will be filing a bill this session to ensure that along with sexual education we do teach about consent so students know when yes means yes and more importantly students know when no means no,” said Hale. “by most measures Indiana is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to sexual assaults against our children and young women and that’s just not good enough in this upcoming session we have to make this the urgent and important issue that it is.”

Lawmakers return to work for the 2016 legislative session on January 5.

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