Bipartisan Sexual Assault Bill Passes Senate

Madison — A bill that increases the time for reporting cases of sexual assault, sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), passed the Wisconsin Senate unanimously today.

            “This bill will give victims of date rape and sexual assault under threat of violence greater opportunity to bring their attackers to justice,” Sen. Lassa said. “Given the trauma suffered by sexual assault victims, we need to give them ample time to report the crimes committed against them. I’m pleased that my Senate colleagues passed it so overwhelmingly today.”

            Under the bill, which Sen. Lassa introduced with Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) and Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), the criminal statute of limitations on second- and third-degree sexual assault would be increased from six to ten years. In Wisconsin, these crimes include sexual contact or intercourse with another person without consent in situations involving: the threat of force or violence, causing injury or mental anguish, assault upon a person who the perpetrator knows is unconscious, one party being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs including “date rape” incidents, and sexual intercourse without consent.  

            “Victims of sexual assault are often traumatized and ashamed, and can take years to gather the courage to report the crime,” Sen. Lassa said. “This measure will help bring perpetrators to justice and prevent them from committing more crimes. The bill has received strong bipartisan support, and with the Assembly companion bill having passed the Assembly  Judiciary Committee last month. I hope the full Assembly will approve it soon and send it to the governor’s desk so that we can help sexual assault victims get the justice they deserve.”