Indiana panel backs longer time limit on sex abuse charges

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana authorities would have more time to press criminal charges in child sexual abuse cases under a bill endorsed by a legislative committee.

The Senate criminal law committee voted unanimously in support of the bill Tuesday after rolling back its original provisions to eliminate the statute of limitations when charges could be filed for rape and child sexual abuse cases.

The proposal going to the full Senate would bring the statute of limitations on crimes such as child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor and incest in line with a 2015 law regarding rape charges. Current law only allows prosecution until the victim reaches 31 years old, but the change would allow an additional five years if authorities obtain DNA evidence or an attacker’s confession.

Some child sexual abuse victims urged the committee to completely eliminate the time limits, saying it was 20 years or longer before they were able to talk with others about the abuse.

Tracey Krueger of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking said the group believed the time limit should be eliminated but that the extended time was a step forward. The state prosecutors association said the additional time would let police pursue investigations in abuse cases and seek the needed evidence.

Committee Chairman Republican Sen. Mike Young of Indianapolis said he believed it was important to keep a time limit that recognizes ‘the difficulties of having someone being able to properly defend themselves with the loss of witnesses or evidence or an alibi.”

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