New Bill Seeks to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Indictments in Minnesota

Today a bill (HF1121) is being presented to the Minnesota House Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform. This legislation shines a light of hope for survivors of sexual assault in Minnesota. If passed as proposed HF1121 would eliminate the statute of limitations for indictments or complaints for sexual assault. This piece of legislation offers an opportunity for survivors of sexual assault to seek justice and a reclamation of some of the power taken from them as a result of the assault.

It is necessary and long overdue.

While there are many legal barriers to prosecuting those responsible for the abuse, perhaps the biggest hurdle is the statute of limitations. When and if survivors finally find the courage to make a report to law enforcement, they are frequently told that the statute of limitations to prosecute the person responsible for the abuse has expired. Shame, embarrassment, and a fear of not being believed are just a few of the obstacles survivors must overcome to reach the point of sharing their story—which is the first step of many in their journeys to reclaiming the power taken from them as children, or as an adult, and exposing the person who hurt them.

This issue, as evidenced by the bi-partisan authorship, is bigger than party affiliation—the wellbeing of those who experienced sexual assault and its devastating long-term effects cannot be constrained by the boundaries of one political ideology or another. Protecting children and survivors of sexual assault benefits society as a whole. It also gives prosecutors clarity and continuity when prosecuting these cases.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the authors of this bill and offer them our full measure of gratitude and support in moving it forward.