Ohio State Sexual Abuse Case Inspires Bill to Eliminate Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault

The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. [Christian Hinkle/Shutterstock]
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By Nick Evans, WOSU.

Outgoing Democratic state Senator Joe Schiavoni (OH-33rd) is pushing to eliminate the statute of limitations for civil cases of rape and sexual assault.  The bill was inspired by the alleged abuse of at least 150 people decades ago by the late Dr. Richard Strauss, who served as a doctor for Ohio State University's wrestling team. The bill, if passed, would not affect civil cases arising from that ongoing investigation.

Current limits are 25 years for criminal cases and two years in civil court. Schiavoni's bill would do away with both, but it cannot affect cases where the statute of limitations has already expired. That means the bill, if passed, would not apply to any civil cases arising from OSU's on-going investigation of Strauss.   

Schiavoni argues making the change is important to protect survivors in the future.

“Here in Ohio we can establish our state as a place where we allow justice to be served to the survivors while adequately punishing the perpetrator, no matter when the act occurred," said Schiavoni.

Schiavoni is unlikely to push the measure through the General Assembly before his term ends next month. But he says a number of Democratic co-sponsors are ready to pick up the bill next session.

Schaivoni's successor will be a Republican, Michael Rulli, who defeated Democratic candidate John Boccieri on Nov. 6.  


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