Lawmaker wants to end statute of limitation for rape - WKRN News 2

Lawmaker wants to end statute of limitation for rape

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Sen. Dr. Mark Green Sen. Dr. Mark Green
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A Tennessee law maker wants to get rid of the statute of limitation for rape by allowing prosecutors to charge someone's DNA profile.

Right now there is an eight year statute of limitation on rape and a 15 year statute of limitation on aggravated rape. 

After the time expires, the perpetrator cannot be charged even if law enforcement knows they committed the crime.

State Senator Dr. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) introduced Senate Bill 931. The law allows a DNA profile that is developed from the suspect to be charged with a "John Doe" arrest warrant.

"You can charge the DNA and that stops the clock on statute of limitations," He said. 

That would allow law enforcement unlimited time to find the person responsible.

"Your DNA profile is specific to you," Sen. Green said. "Once we have that we are essentially charging the person we just don't know the person's name."

Green is also a medical doctor. He has treated women who have been sexually assaulted.

"This one is personal for me because I am an ER physician and I would often see women who had been raped and we would have to take the specimen kit," he said. "The devastation that happens to these women after being raped is horrible."

He continued, "Most of them will never see resolution because I think its 75% percent never even get charged. So these women have to carry that throughout their lives without having any closure."

In 2011, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said there were 2,029 reported forcible rapes. Of those there were 395 arrests made or less than 20%.

"You could have a situation where a person does multiple rapes and the statute of limitation expires and he can only be charged with one," Green said. "But if we have his DNA on say 10 or 15 of them we can go back and make sure the person faces punishment for all of those rapes."

The Senate version of the bill passed the judiciary committee on Tuesday. It is awaiting a date for a full Senate vote.

The House version, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville), passed the criminal justice committee on March 13.

If the bill becomes law it will take effect on July 1, 2013

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