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Florida Lawmaker proposes removal of the statute of limitations on rape in new bill

The proposed bill would allow prosecution for rape no matter how long ago it happened.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County Democrat Adam Hattersley filed House Bill 165 this month, called the “Me Too, No More Act."

It is an effort to support sexual assault victims.

The proposed bill would allow prosecution for rape no matter how long ago it happened. It wouldn’t change the way these cases are prosecuted and, if passed, wouldn’t be retroactive.

10News spoke with Sophie Bierker who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child and domestic violence as an adult and asked her what she thought of the proposed bill.

“It’s wonderful, it’s only right. It has been such a travesty that we have such a short statute of limitations," Bierker said. " Many victims don’t come forward quickly because as an abused child, they may not realize it’s abuse until much later in life and as an adult, there is a stigma attached with being a victim."

Bierker has made it her goal to help others. 

“I specialized in treating survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence for 22 years in Pennsylvania, and I do that here in Sarasota as a life coach,” Bierker said. 

Bierker even wrote a book called 'Me too, child and adult sexual abuse and prevention.'

“We process about a rape a day,” Crisis Center of Tampa Bay CEO Clara Reynolds said. “We see sexual assault victims every day to complete rape kits especially now with the massive rape kit backlog taken care of. But we also get hundreds of survivors that come looking for support and ways to find justice.”

Reynolds says sexual assault victims are victims of crime and deserve the same amount as justice as anyone else who has been a victim of crime.

In Florida, statutes of limitations vary depending on how a crime is classified, and how old a victim was at the time of the crime. Currently, a handful of states have already passed similar legislation to House Bill 165.

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