The voices of sexual assault victims are being heard at the Montana State Legislature. Changes are being proposed to the current statute of limitations for sex offenses.
The proposal lifts the statute of limitations entirely for child sex abuse cases and expands the statute of limitations for sex crimes against adults.
It was no surprise to see a room full of people at the hearing who agree this is not a political issue but a human one.
“This is a nonpartisan issue. It’s about protecting children. I'm a Republican, my co-counsel is a Democrat. This is not political,” said Dan Rice, a proponent of the bill.
Proponent John Heenan spoke on behalf of 31 sexual assault survivors who were abused as children. He says it's a process and it takes each person a different amount of time to come forward.
“And that’s why I think it’s so important that we don’t have an arbitrary statute of limitations, where pedophiles and child molesters can circle a date on a calendar and know they can get away with it,” said Heenan.
There were no opponents of the bill who testified in the hearing, and if passed the bill would take immediate effect.
The committee has not yet scheduled a vote for this bill, there are other bills being proposed on this issue that are going to be heard before setting a vote.