Kotek signs bill giving victims more time to report sex crimes in Oregon
SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Governor Tina Kotek signed a bill Thursday that expands the statute of limitations to prosecute first-degree sex crimes from 12 years to 20 years within Oregon.
House Bill 3632 was passed during the last legislative session, and brings Oregon laws closer to other states on this issue.
The bill wasn’t just a victory for survivor Tiffany Edens, but motivation to press on.
“It’s helping all of Oregon. It’s helping all those that are victimized of sexual crimes,” Edens said on Thursday.
Edens was just 13 years old when she was raped by the so-called ‘Jogger Rapist’ Richard Gillmore in 1986.
He admitted to assaulting nine women and girls, but was only convicted in Edens’ case, because the others fell outside the statute of limitations.
“If statute of limitations were like this, were more appropriate than what they were in 1976, ‘78, ‘79, my sisters in survival would’ve had justice,” Edens said.
Gillmore was released earlier this year after 36 years in prison, classified as the lowest level of sex offender, which means his name and address don’t appear on the state registry.
“He got released as a Level 1 sex offender, so had there been a statute of limitations that was appropriate and adequate at his time of release, he wouldn’t be a Level 1, he’d be a Level 2 or Level 3 because of the serial nature of his rapes and his crimes,” Edens said.
Senator Tim Knopp was one of those leading the charge for House Bill 3632, and says this bill brings Oregon closer to the nationwide standard.
“In 2015 when we started on this we were basically at the bottom of the states, and we’ve been fighting to move up and create a safe space for victims to come forward when they’re able to tell their story,” he said on Thursday.
For Edens, the fight is far from over, and she doesn’t believe the bill goes far enough.
“I would like to see this abolished, because still we’re saying who can play hide and seek the best, right?” she said. “People like myself that have gone through heinous crimes like this, sometimes it’s very hard to come forward and hard to talk about it, but this at least gives them a little more time to come to terms with what happened to them.”
The bill also stipulates that if the victim was under 18 at the time of the crime, the statute of limitations would end after 20 years or when the victim turns 30, whichever comes later.
For example, a 6-year-old child who is a victim would have 24 years, or until they turn 30, to report the crime.
Copyright 2023 KPTV-KPDX. All rights reserved.