National experts believe at least a third of the adult population were victims of child sexual abuse.
Speaking to the Utah House of Representatives, Rep. Joanne Milner, D-Salt Lake, said Tuesday that recollections of the crime often do not surface until the victim reaches adulthood. By then, the statute of limitations and the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted.Milner has sponsored HB32, which would extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuses against a child up to five years after the date the offense is discovered and reported to authorities.
Although he said he understands that sexual abuse is a sensitive issue, House Majority Whip Byron Harward, R-Provo, said prosecutors would be hard pressed to litigate offenses that occurred years ago. "The problem is, how do you make sure the facts are there? How do you make sure the evidence is there after the eight years?" he said.
Co-sponsor Tim Moran, D-Spanish Fork, said prosecutors ultimately would decide whether criminal charges would be filed. "The prosecutor would bring a case only if he found enough evidence," Moran said.
Despite Harward's concerns, the House passed the bill 55-19.