State Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) announced yesterday that Governor John Kasich signed into law House Bill 6, which advances the state’s efforts to deliver justice for victims of sexual violence.
House Bill 6 extends the statute of limitations for initiating prosecution in a case of rape or sexual battery from 20 to 25 years. The bill also extends the statute of limitations when a suspect is implicated by DNA evidence. Senator Uecker co-sponsored a similar piece of legislation in the Senate which passed earlier this year.
"This legislation helps to deliver justice for the victims of this heinous crime," said Uecker. "Prosecutors are better equipped to put attackers behind bars."
Under House Bill 6, once a DNA match is determined, prosecutors will have the opportunity to seek an indictment for a period of five years, even if that period extends beyond the state’s new 25-year statute of limitations. Ohio now joins more than two dozen other states that include a DNA exemption in their statute of limitations for such crimes.
“The Attorney General has been working hard to test backlogged rape kits,” said Uecker. “This bill ensures that when a DNA match is found, prosecutors can seek justice for the victim.”
In 2011, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) began working with local law enforcement agencies to get rid of the state’s backlog in testing rape kits. Since that time, 186 different law enforcement agencies from across the state have submitted more than 10,000 kits for testing. Of the 7,814 kits already tested as part of this initiative, BCI has found 2,887 matches to profiles in the state’s Combined DNA Index System.
House Bill 6 received support from Attorney General Mike DeWine and advocacy groups who provide services to the victims of sexual abuse. The new law went into effect immediately upon Governor Kasich’s signature.