State Senate Approves Bill To Eliminate Statute Of Limitations For Rape Cases

(WREG-TV) Statistics show at some point this weekend a woman will likely be raped in Memphis.

Once she is, the clock starts ticking to charge her attacker.

Rape cases currently must be prosecuted within eight years; aggravated rape within 15 years.

“The clock should not be ticking against the victims chance for justice,” rape survivor Meaghan Ybos said.

But in her case, it was.

It took nine years for her rape kit to even be tested,  and when it was, she learned she was a victim of serial rapist Anthony Alliano.

Had her kit sat on the shelf for six more years, he never would have been charged for her rape.

“It would have been impossible to prosecute my offender for that and that would have been devastating for me and the entire community to have lost that opportunity for justice,” she said.

Thursday the Tennessee State Senate unanimously approved a bill by Mark Norris to end the statute of limitation on rape cases so no opportunity for justice is ever lost.

“If the only thing coming between prosecuting a case is that the clock has run that doesn’t seem fair,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said.

Last week, she went to Nashville to show support. That very morning, she said, there was a perfect example of why change is needed.

“We actually had some cold case rape cases that we got some DNA hits back on that the statute of limitations was going to run on if we didn’t get it indicted. No grand jury, no indictment so we scrambled, and came up with a way to solve that problem by issuing arrest warrants for john doe defendants.”

That wouldn’t need to happen if this bill become law.

It won’t help the thousands of backlogged rape cases, but it will bring justice for future victims.

Meaghan is proud legislators from Shelby County are leading the way for reform.

“We have all these legislators coming out of Memphis rising above the catastrophe and putting in work on the legislative level that can really be very powerful,” she said.

If the house approves the bill and the governor signs it into law, it will go into effect July 1. There is an amendment to the bill, which says the victim would have to report the rape within three years.