Florida lawmaker introduces bill to abolish statute of limitations for sexual assault

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State lawmakers could make some big changes to Florida sex crime laws.

State Representative Adam Hattersley, D-Hillsborough, wants to lift the deadline for reporting a rape or sexual assault. 

Hattersley sponsored the "Me Too No More" Act to remove the statute of limitations for all victims of such crimes. This is part of his broader "Me Too No More" initiative, which also calls for expedited processing of rape kits across the state.  

Hattersley said he was driven by the wave of sex crime and misconduct revelations that have rocked the nation through the "Me Too" movement. In many cases, law enforcement cannot pursue accusations because too much time has passed since the victims said they were attacked. 

While Florida has no deadline for pursuing criminal cases involving use of a deadly weapon or cases involving some minors, the statute of limitations in most cases is four to eight years. 

"For a lot of these cases, they're not going to be able to come to terms in that amount of time to report it,” Rep. Hattersley told FOX 13. “About 19 or 20 states have already eliminated the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes and we are very behind the times."

Hattersley noted his legislation would not change how cases are prosecuted, and would not change the burden of proof for prosecutors.