Eklund Announces Passage of Legislation that Helps Bring Justice to Victims of Sexual Violence
March 25, 2015
State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) announced the passage of legislation today to extend the time which victims of sexual violence may seek justice when a crime is implicated by DNA evidence.
Senate Bill 13, sponsored by State Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice with a bipartisan vote of 9-1 before moving to a session of the full Senate for approval earlier today.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Eklund, who chairs the Senate's Criminal Justice Committee. “We owe it to victims to make sure justice is served in the most complete, effective and efficient way possible. I appreciate the partnership of the victim advocacy groups, law enforcement and the legal community on this legislation." The legislation extends the statute of limitations for initiating prosecution in a rape or sexual battery case against an individual implicated by DNA evidence. Once a DNA match is determined, victims will have the opportunity to seek prosecution for a period of five years even if that period extends beyond the state’s current 20-year statute of limitations. With the passage of Senate Bill 13, Ohio joins 27 other states that include a DNA exemption in their statute of limitations laws.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought the issue of DNA testing into the spotlight last year with an announcement that his office’s rape kit testing initiative had already matched over 1,000 DNA samples to potential rapists. DeWine's office submitted written testimony in favor of the legislation. The Criminal Justice Committee earlier heard testimony supporting the legislation from advocacy groups who provide services to the victims of sexual abuse. Witnesses from the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women supported passage of the bill as a critical victory for the victims they serve.
Senate Bill 13 passed the Senate 32-1 and now moves to the House for further consideration.