Joined by Sen. Richard Sears, local prosecutors, advocates for crime victims and others, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed a new law extending the statute of limitations on certain sex crimes against children. Previously, prosecution on those cases had to begin before the victim's 24th birthday or within 10 years of the crime; the new law extends the statute of limitation to 40 years after the crime.
"We know that kids are often fearful of reporting these terrible crimes, sometimes waiting well into their adult years," the Governor said. "This law gives victims without a legal voice the opportunity to right an awful wrong."
He said the trauma some children feel can profoundly impact their lives, and extending the statute of limitations will help ensure that justice is served in more cases. The need for a longer statute of limitations was highlighted in the last year in Bennington when two adults who had been child-victims discovered that their abusers were still working with children.
In addition to Sen. Sears and other lawmakers who worked on the legislation, the Governor also thanked Christina Rainville, Bennington's County's Chief Deputy State's Attorney, for her leadership in pushing the bill and helping draft the law.