California scraps 10-year statute of limitations on rape cases

It is the third state to alter its statute of limitations on sexual assault or rape in the wake of multiple historical accusations against Bill Cosby

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The Independent US

California has ended its 10-year statute of limitations for rape cases in the wake of the allegations of multiple historical sexual assaults by the comedian Bill Cosby.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill on Wednesday, allowing prosecutors to file certain rape and child molestation charges without the previous 10-year time limit on when the incidents took place. The new measure will come into effect from January 2017, but will not work retroactively, meaning it does not apply to the existing allegations against Mr Cosby.

The statute of limitations on rape cases varies from state to state in the US, though California is the third to alter its laws since dozens of women came forward to accuse Mr Cosby, now 79, of a string of sexual assaults stretching from the 1960s to the 1990s. Colorado recently expanded the window for reporting sexual assaults from 10 years to 20. In 2015, Nevada extended the statute of limitations on rape charges from four to 20 years.

Mr Cosby, who continues to deny the charges against him, is due to go on trial in June 2017 accused of a sexual assault on a woman in Philadelphia in 2004. In Pennsylvania the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault claims is currently 12 years.

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