Sept. 20, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a Queens legislator’s bill into law Wednesday that extends the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes.
The bill, which was sponsored in the assembly by Aravella Simotas, extends the statute of limitations for reporting second-degree rape to 20 years, while the period for third-degree rape increases to 10 years.
Previously, both second and third-degree rape had to be reported within five years.
The new law also eliminates the statute of limitations for incest in the first-degree and extends the statute of limitations to 20 years for both second-degree incest and for a criminal sexual act in the second-degree.
For third-degree criminal sexual acts, the statute has been increased to 10 years.
There is no statute of limitations for first-degree rape in New York.
Cuomo was joined by members of TIME’S UP and NOW New York, which both advocate on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, to announce the passage of the law. The organizations were represented by actresses like Julianne Moore – who helped set up TIME’S UP – Michelle Hurd and Mira Sorvino.
The Governor said that the new law addresses the injustices of rape and sexual abuse and that it will help more victims to come forward.
“There has been an ongoing and pervasive culture of sexual harassment and abuse in our society, and it is made worse by the fact that victims of second and third degree rape only have five years to bring a legal claim against their attacker,” Cuomo said.
“Five years is an insult to these survivors and today we’re providing them more time to come to terms with the trauma they experienced and to seek justice.”
Simotas said that the new law aims to provide survivors with the justice they deserve.
“By updating our laws, we are sending a strong message that survivors matter, their stories matter and New York will not deny anyone accessible means to justice,” Simotas said.
This is a historic step forward for survivors’ rights in New York. We are feeling proud to have witnessed @NYGovCuomo sign this key point of the #TIMESUP #NYSafetyAgenda into law, expanding access to justice for countless survivors throughout the state. pic.twitter.com/nIyDvnaFpG
— TIME’S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) September 18, 2019