A bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for a sexual battery case involving a victim younger than 18 at the time of the offense arrived on the Governor’s desk late Monday.
Presently, a complicated framework exists enforcing a statute of limitations that hinges on the technicalities of the victim’s age, how and when they reported the assault, the degree of the felony and other reporting requirements.
If signed, however, HB 199 would change that and create consistency for prosecutions in Florida.
The measure is more commonly known as Donna’s Law, named after Donna Hedrick who was sexually abused by her music teacher and finally went public with her story after more than 40 years.
The bill was co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis of Jacksonville and Republican Rep. Scott Plakon of Seminole County.
“When I think of the many lives that this bill could impact in the future and the message that it will send to people who seek to hurt children in Florida, I cannot help but think of the lives it could have touched, had there been no statute of limitations on the prosecution of sexual battery against minors on the books,” said Davis in May upon the bill’s passage.
The bill will not apply to offenses committed before July 1, 2020.