DAYTON, Ohio(WDTN)- Amid allegations that Richard Strauss, a team doctor at Ohio State University, assaulted athletes from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, Governor Mike DeWine is now asking legislators to take a look at the state’s statute of limitations. If Strauss were alive today, Ohio law would not allow him to be prosecuted for accusations just now coming to light. That’s because the state’s statute of limitations says too much time has passed since the crimes occurred.
DeWine is calling for a removal of the statute of limitations in rape cases and the extension of it in other cases of sexual assault.
“I don’t have a magic number with them or what should be the correct number but sexual assaults, this type of crime is just so fundamentally different than the other crimes,” DeWine said.
Along with eliminating the statute of limitations for rape cases and extending it in other cases, the governor also wants harsher punishment for perpetrators in position of power.
Caitlin Bentley, sexual assault program manager at the YWCA said, “Eliminating the statute of limitation can really help survivors when they have worked through their trauma.”
Bentley said healing from trauma is not a one size fits all process and neither should be the way we respond to trauma. Bentley said while some survivors may feel ready to take their case through the judicial system, it can take others decades to get to that point. The statute of limitation can sometimes be barrier to healing if too much time has passed.
“Many folks can feel like ‘oh, I was finally ready to grasp this power back and it’s gone again’,” Bentley said.
While DeWine asks legislators to change state laws, Bentley just hopes the people most affected by this will be kept in mind.
“What I do hope is that folks who are our legislators listen to the voices of survivors and honor them,” Bentley said.
The statute of limitations differs from state to state. For more information on the statute of limitations in different states, click here.
To call the YWCA 24/7 hotline, dial 937-222-SAFE.