Tennessee Coalition wants an End to Statute of Limitations for Felony Sex Offenses

The Tennessee Coalition To End Domestic and Sexual Violence is working with lawmakers to file a bill ending the statute of limitations for felony sex offenses.
Executive Director Kathy Walsh says the coalition’s goal is to remove any statute of limitation for felony sex offenses. Currently, felony sex offenses must be reported within three years for the statute of limitations to be removed. If not, certain offenses have ‘expiration dates’ on how long a victim has to seek prosecution.
Such offenses include rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child, sexual battery by an authority figure, indecent exposure, and public indecency.
Walsh says the current draft of legislation was spawned from previous work with lawmakers on Tennessee’s rape kit backlog. While rape victims who report to hospitals can have the kit turned over to law enforcement, not every victim might do so. Some of the victims could be experiencing trauma, shock, fear, or other reasons to not have the kit turned over.
In these instances, the victim can have the kit stored with a number and not their names. The kits are then stored for a minimum of three years. This hold period is another issue where the coalition wants to see time barriers removed. Walsh says, “Given advances in DNA testing if the evidence is there, there should be no statute of limitations.”