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Will Ohio Eliminate Rape Statute of Limitation?

Themis and gavel
By George Khoury, Esq. on May 21, 2019

With the recent fallout of the revealed decades old sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University involving the now-deceased sports doctor Richard Strauss, the state's legislature has taken the first step towards making the state's rape laws more victim-friendly.

In short, Ohio's legislature is being asked to consider a bill that would allow the victims of Richard Strauss to sue the university, similar to the law passed in Michigan to allow MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar and the university to be sued by the victims whose cases occurred too long ago and were barred by the statute of limitation

Ohio State Scandal

The Richard Strauss scandal has caused quite a bit of backlash for OSU and the state's representatives who have resisted following the lead of other states and eliminating the statute of limitations for rape and sexual abuse crimes.

It is believed that Strauss sexually assaulted over 100 or more young men under his care, using his position as a doctor to take advantage of the student athletes. It has been alleged that the university administration knew, but did nothing, and now, lawyers for the victims are pressing to find out who knew what, and when.

Strauss worked for OSU from the late seventies to the late nineties. After he was fired in 1996, he opened a private clinic near the university, and continued practicing, and was granted emeritus status with the school. Strauss committed suicide in 2005. The allegations vary, with some accounts asserting that Strauss's sexual abuse of athletes was an open secret, while others claim that none of the coaches knew anything about it.

Statute of Limitations for Rape and Sexual Abuse

The amount of time that a state has to charge a person accused of a crime is known as the statute of limitation. How long that is varies from state to state and for various crimes (and you can check out your state's laws here). Not too long ago, California eliminated the statute of limitation on rape in response to the Brock Turner case that garnered national attention, and advocates for Strauss's victims are hoping this massive scandal will convince the state of Ohio that now is the time to follow California's lead.

Generally, the more serious crimes, such as murder, rape, and crimes involving minors, tend to have longer statute of limitations periods. In fact, in some states, there is no statute of limitations for these types of crimes, or any serious crimes.

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