Orlando state senator moves to remove restrictions against prosecuting rape cases

Democratic state senator Linda Stewart from Orlando filed legislation Wednesday in hopes of trying to remove barriers on prosecuting rape cases.

“Many young sexual battery victims do not come forward when they are first assaulted,” Stewart said in press release.  “Sometimes they don’t understand, sometimes they are afraid, and sometimes they are simply ashamed. Each victim processes these horrendous events in their own way and in their own time. Justice for these children should not be tied to a clock.”

According to Stewart’s office, the bill stems from a case involving a constituent who was sexually abused as a 15-year old high school student and buried her secret for more than 40 years. She later learned that five more girls were also abused, but the teacher was never prosecuted.

Stewart’s bill, if passed, would change the law so that a sexual felony could be prosecuted at any time if the victim was under 18 when he or she was attacked.

Under the current state law prosecuting first-degree felonies has to start within four years of the crime. Prosecuting other levels of felonies must start within, at most, three years of the offense.

SB 130 would take effect July 1, 2019, if it passes during the 2019 legislative session.

CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.

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