House OKs rape law change

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The House passed legislation Tuesday giving prosecutors unlimited time to press charges in rape and sodomy cases.

Now the issue moves to the Senate, where a similar bill is scheduled for debate this week.

Many lawmakers have made the rape legislation a top priority since the legislative session began three weeks ago.

In the House, the bill passed by an announced vote of 132-0.

"What we are truly saying today by passing this bill ... is that you can't get away with rape or sodomy in the state of Missouri," said Rep. Ralph Monaco, D-Raytown, one of the bill's many sponsors.

If the bill passes the Legislature, it would become law as soon as the governor signs it.

Two years ago, the Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District changed the existing law's interpretation by ruling there is a three-year statute of limitations for rape and sodomy crimes.

Bill supporters have said changes in DNA technology now allow investigators to solve crimes years after they happen.

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