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Lawmaker says eliminating sex crimes statute of limitations needs more study after bill dies

The eastern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse. Cars drive by in the foreground.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
It's not unusual for pieces of legislation to take multiple sessions to finally become law.

A bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for some sex crimes died in the General Assembly this past session. But it may still have a future in the legislature.

Prosecuting most sex crimes in Indiana generally has to happen within five years of the crime being committed. If it’s a crime against a child, the statute of limitations runs until the victim turns 31.

A 2024 bill, SB 151, originally eliminated that time constraint for all sex crimes, but was narrowed in the Senate just to rape and child molestation.

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The measure never got a hearing in the House. And House Courts and Criminal Code Committee Chair Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) said that’s because such a change shouldn’t happen in a short session.

“When you’re talking about removing statute of limitations, there are a lot of mechanisms in the criminal justice system that I think just need to have a deeper conversation of what that looks like,” McNamara said.

McNamara said she’s “absolutely” open to something like a study committee on the issue.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.