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Ohio lawmakers seek to eliminate time limit for prosecuting rape cases

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The statute of limitations for reporting and prosecuting rape cases in Ohio should be eliminated, according to a pair of state lawmakers.

Reps. Greta Johnson and Teresa Fedor last week called for legislative changes including eliminating the time limit for prosecuting sexual assault cases and making it easier to prosecute spousal rape.

Johnson, a Democrat from Akron, said spousal rape is illegal in Ohio but it can be difficult to prove because of outdated references in the law. She never understood state law's marital exception to rape, she told The Blade newspaper.

"Would it make the date-rape pill slipped in a drink more tolerable?" she said. "Would it make a 20-year-old passed out less a victim if it had been her spouse violating her? It is time to move Ohio out of the dark ages."

Legislation that recently passed in the House extended the statute of limitation for prosecuting rape cases from 20 to 25 years. Johnson and Fedor said they commend the bill, but added that it doesn't go far enough to ensure justice for rape survivors.

Victims of rape or sexual assault are too frequently denied access to justice and sexual predators are allowed to roam freely, Johnson said.

"This is a constitutional response to an unconscionable problem," she said.

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