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Oregon lawmakers may extend rape allegation window


Oregon lawmakers are considering reforming rape charges. Currently, a rape survivor has six years to file charges, the new law would bring it up to 20 years.

“Frequently, victims of rape are so intimidated, they feel like it’s their fault,” Rep. Jeff Barker D-Aloha, said Tuesday. “It takes a little while to recover from that. If there is a good case, we should allow that the perpetrator be prosecuted.”

Currently, Oregon has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for rape in the country. Twenty-four states nationwide don’t have any deadline for filing charges, while 14 others have higher limits, ranging from 10 to 15 years.

“I was trafficked from 6 months to 17 years-old,” said Andi Buerger, executive director at Beulah’s Place, a Redmond organization that helps rape survivors and homeless or at-risk teens. “By the time I got counseling and was able to discuss the very difficult and evil details of what had happened for all those years, I was in my 30s.”

But Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said he would prefer lawmakers focus their energy on other ways to help rape survivors.

“I’m less interested in legislators spending time to change statutes of limitations that might affect one or two cases from 20 years ago,” Hummel said. “I’d rather they spend their time helping the hundreds of women who are suffering from domestic violence.”

But for many rape survivors, every little bit helps.

“We need to do more in this state, we really do, but that would at least be a step in the right direction,” Buerger said.

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