Updated: January 29, 2020 06:42 PM
Created: January 29, 2020 06:37 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would close a gap in the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children.
According to the current law, cases must be brought to a judge within six years if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 17. There is no time limit for a case to be prosecuted if the child is under the age of 13.
"I feel really bad for the victims. I feel bad that we would set a time limit, a timer, on those crimes at all,” said Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana).
Sen. Steinborn said a woman in his district asked him to work on this bill.
“I actually have a incredible constituent, who's now an 18-year-old young woman, but she came to me when she was 17, who was a victim and said New Mexico statutes are way too shallow,” the senator said.
The bill would allow rape victims between ages 13 and 17 to prosecute until they are 30-years-old.
"We actually passed the bill last session. There was a technical error in it in one of the amendments that was made last hours of the session and unfortunately it required the bill to be vetoed so we could correct that,” Sen. Steinborn said.
A committee will review the bill Thursday. Sen. Steinborn hopes it will make it to the finish line this time.
"I feel, what's the words, cautiously optimistic. You never know in the legislative process,” he said.
The attorney general has thrown his support behind the bill. Attorney General Balderas said he supports strengthening protections for child abuse survivors and the law should provide real justice in holding dangerous people accountable.
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