January 19, 2015

Bill filed to help sex crime victims

1-19-2015 Florida:

For the first bill he has ever filed as a Florida lawmaker, State Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, has filed a bill that extends the time a victim of a sexual crime has to come forward and report it.

"The hole in the law is the short amount of time that a victim has to come forward. The State of Florida ranks 48th out of 50 in statute of limitations. Ours is four years."

The bill (HB 133) would extend that time frame from four years to 10 years for any victim 16 years or older. Rep. Plasencia says sometimes those victims need that much time to find the strength to come forward.

"For the people that don't report after 24 hours, the average reporting time is eight years. When you are a victim, sometimes there is blame, sometimes there is embarrassment, and a lot of it is finding the courage and the health to move forward."

Last year, the state passed a law for victims of sex crimes under the age of 16 to make sure there was no statute of limitations at all on reporting those crimes. Plasencia also says representing the campus of University of Central Florida makes him determined to try and help any victim he can.

"I want to find ways to work with not just UCF, but all of our college campuses statewide to make sure that we are protecting our students from these things."

Plasencia says he got his inspiration for the bill from a woman that decided to come forward four years and 43 days after she says she was raped, only to learn the statute of limitations was up and there was nothing she could do. The bill is now titled, "The 43 Day Act." ..Source.. by Mike Synan, Reporter

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