Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) signed legislation into law on Friday to lift the statute of limitations on numerous sex crimes.
House Bill 2135 lifts the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse starting Jan. 1.
The new law states that a prosecution for the criminal “may be commenced at any time.” Under the state’s previous legislation, prosecution was required to commence within 10 years of commission of the offense.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R), who co-sponsored the measure, told The Chicago Tribune that the new legislation will give alleged victims the chance “to have their day in court, whenever that day comes.”
Carrie Ward, the executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the paper that law will do away with “an arbitrary time frame that limits when a victim can come forward.”
“Sometimes folks aren’t in the position to be able to come forward with their experience of sexual violence for lots of different reasons,” Ward said, adding that “sometimes because of the trauma they’ve experienced, sometimes because they aren’t aware that what happened to them constitutes sexual violence.”
According to The Associated Press, the new law makes Illinois the eighth state in the country to pass legislation eliminating the statute of limitations for sex crimes.