Sponsors Of Sexual Assault Bill Say They’re Facing Obstacles

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Ohio lawmakers who are sponsoring a bill that would eliminate time restrictions on prosecuting rapists said they’re running into obstacles. 

Sen. Nina Turner (D), and Sen. Capri Cafaro (D), introduced bill over a year ago that would eliminate the current 20-year statue of limitations for rape and sexual battery. This means survivors would have an unlimited window of time to press charges. 

However, the bill's sponsors and supporters said they’re having a difficult time getting the bill to committee, let alone on the Senate floor.

It’s been almost a year since Senate republican leadership gave it a hearing. Opponents are saying it could actually keep victims from coming forward.

Sen. Charleta B. Taveres (D), a supporter of the bill, said, "Some of the prosecutors across the state of Ohio feel as though it isn’t necessary and that it’s going to take too long for victims to come forward."

Carson Tompkins, a rape survivor and survivor advocate, spoke at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to support progression of the bill.

Tompkins was sexually assaulted at age four, but she said she was unable to remember her attack until she was 16.

"I started having these really terrible nightmares about the rape, and I just remember I was sitting at my table eating breakfast one day, and I looked up and I was like this happened. This really happened," she said.

Tompkins said she’s not ready to bring her attacker to justice, but wants to keep the option open for the future. Whether it’s within the current 20 year limit, or much later.

"It’s this whole thing about coming forward and it’s painful, and it’s hard and it takes time," she said.

Supporters of the bill say they’re setting up a meeting with Republican Sen. John Eklund, in hopes of getting another hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee which he chairs.

Caleigh Bourgeois is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. Follow her on Twitter @caleighreports.