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Government & Politics

Ohio Democrats Call for Their Sex Assault-related Bills to Move Forward

Rep. Kristin Boggs answers a question at a press conference about sexual assault bills
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus, center) answers a question at a press conference. Alongside (left to right) are Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron), Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park). Behind Boggs is Chris Graham of Westerville, who survived sexual assault by a Catholic priest when he was 14. He's now an advocate for laws to change the statute of limitations on reporting sex-related crimes and filing lawsuits.

Four Ohio House Democrats are calling for movement on two bills introduced this year on sexual assault-related issues.

One bill would extend the time for the prosecution of rapists and allow 25 more years for childhood sexual assault victims to sue their attackers. It would also remove the cap on pain and suffering damages for rape victims. It’s had one hearing.

Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) has introduced it three times.

"I will continue to introduce them until they are passed, whether or not I think they’re going to be successful in this General Assembly or not, because these survivors and Ohioans deserve to have someone who’s actually fighting for them in the state legislature," Boggs said.

The bill's joint sponsor is Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington).

The other bill, sponsored by Reps. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) would change Ohio's law on spousal exceptions for rape to allow people who drug and force their spouses into sex to be charged with sexual battery. It’s had no hearings.

The Democrats, all women, say Republicans fear a flood of lawsuits if the bills are passed. But in the past, Gov. Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost and former AGs Betty Montgomery and Nancy Rogers have advocated for lifting the statute of limitations on rape.

Republican leaders recently indicated they never planned to pass legislation they held hearings on last year to allow the victims of sexual abuse by Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss in the 80s and 90s to sue, but were trying to get the university to settle for them.

A judge who recently dismissed lawsuits involving Strauss said he did so because the statute of limitations to sue him had expired.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.