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Wendy Davis Calls For Eliminating Statute Of Limitations On Rape

Shelley Kofler
Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis appeared with Dallas County Constable Beth Villareal at the Frank Crowley Courts building in Dallas.

Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, said Wednesday she wants to eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting cases of rape and sex assault.

“I will classify sexual assault at the same level as other heinous crimes such as murder and manslaughter and human trafficking, which have no statute of limitations. Eight states are already doing do,” Davis told reporters gathered on the steps of the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts building in Dallas.

Davis appeared with Dallas County Constable Beth Villareal, a victim of domestic violence, whose current job requires her to assist with sex assault cases.

Davis hugs Constable Beth Villareal who says she was a victim of domestic abuse.

Davis cited several cases in which DNA evidence discovered years after the crime identified the suspect, but it was too late to prosecute.

In most cases, sex assault charges must be filed within 10 years of the incident.

Davis’ call to end the statute of limitations follows a statewide tour in which she called attention to legislation she sponsored as a state senator to increase the number of rape kits that are tested. She also criticized her Republican gubernatorial opponent, Greg Abbott, for a vote he took while on the Texas Supreme Court. Abbott opposed a rape victim’s request to sue the employer of a door-to-door salesman who raped the woman at her home.

Abbott’s campaign says he was following the law. 

An Abbott spokesperson responded to Davis’ announcement by saying he also supports eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex assault crimes.

“Not only does Greg Abbott support any proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault, this is an extension of his record of putting over 4,500 sex offenders in jail and advocating for the death penalty for rapists, as well as proposals he has previously announced during the campaign to address the rape kit backlog to provide expedited justice for victims of these heinous crimes,” Abbott Deputy Communications Director Amelia Chasse said in a statement.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.