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Bill Extending Rape Statute Of Limitations Passes First House Panel

Florida Channel

A bill extending the statute of limitations for a rape victim to report the crime passed its first House panel Tuesday. Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) is the bill’s sponsor.

“This bill simply raises our statutes of limitations for all sexual offenses for ages 16 and over from four years to 10 years,” said the Freshman lawmaker, speaking to a House panel Tuesday.

It’s called the "43 Days Initiative” Act, after Danielle Sullivan—a rape survivor, whose case never got heard after she waited 4 years and 43 days to report what occurred. Florida’s current statute of limitations for reporting rape is capped at 4 years.

“I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, who suffered a terrible tragedy at the hands of another person,” said Sullivan. “After learning I was unable to prosecute this crime due to Florida’s current statute of limitations, I determined that changes needed to be made to our current laws. I decided to take it upon myself to make it happen and protect the nearly 2.6 million rape victims in the state of Florida.”

While some lawmakers expressed concern over the extension, the bill passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee unanimously Tuesday.

“It [the bill] will encourage trust in the legal system, making it more comfortable for victims to come forward, showing the state of Florida respects their suffering and acknowledges the courage it takes for a victim to come forward. My hope is that [the legislature] can get this bill passed this session, then in the future other victims will be able to seek the justice  that I was never afforded,” added Sullivan.

Meanwhile, a Senate companion has not yet been filed.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.