The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 26, 2013

Our View: Good idea should go further

The Joplin Globe

— A group of Kansas legislators want to extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assaults and rapes in that state by five years.

This is a good idea, although it may not go far enough.

Right now, the statute of limitations in Kansas is five years after the crime or five years after the victim’s 18th birthday.

Five years is a pretty narrow window, given the nature of the crime and the fact that a minor might have been a victim. Supporters of the bill note that victims often don’t report such crimes for years.

The bill would increase the statute of limitations to 10 years after the crime or 10 years from when the victim turns 18.

Rape victims, law enforcement officers and prosecutors all testified last week in favor of the bill, which is to get a hearing before the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice this week. While there is no objection that we can think of to extending the statute of limitations, why not just eliminate it altogether?

About 20 states have no time limit for prosecuting rape, according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, as reported in the Wichita Eagle.

“These victims deserve their day in court when the allegations can still be proven regardless of the delay,” said Ed Klumpp, who testified on behalf of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Sheriffs Association and the Kansas Peace Officers Association.

We agree.

Take the 10, if that’s all that can be done now, but keep pushing toward the day when there is no longer a time limit.