PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon legislature is moving forward with a bill to lengthen the statute of limitations for rape, a movement supported by two women who were victims of rape more than six years ago.
The six years statute of limitations for rape in Oregon is one of the shortest time limits for prosecution in the country. Brenda Tracy and Danielle Tudor want that changed. The women are working with lawmakers to change Oregon’s 6-year statute of limitations to 20 years.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary committee will take up HB 2317, which will be aimed at extending the statute of limitations.
“I feel very confident about Wednesday. I’m actually looking forward to it,” Tudor told KOIN 6 News.
Tracy said she gets nervous and cries when she tells her story, but she’s going to tell it to Oregon lawmakers on Wednesday.
“I think every time I talk about it I feel better. I feel a little more confident, so it’s kind of like therapy for me to talk,” Tracy said.
The bill is likely to be amended from its current form, and then will be sent to the Senate. If it passes both chambers, it will then move to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk.
Tudor was a victim of Richard Gillmore, known as the jogger rapist, who attacked at least nine women in the 1970s and 1980s. He was only convicted of one case due to Oregon’s 6-year statute of limitations.
“I think that’s really the passion behind this bill for me is the fact that it still affects me personally, that I still would not receive justice today for my rape even 35 years down the road,” Tudor said.
She said the women involved in her case did everything right, “but if your offender is capable of playing hide-and-seek until that statute is up he’s off the hook. That’s exactly what my rapist did.”
Tracy, in a Change.org petition, said she “was brutally gang-raped by 4 men, 2 of them Oregon State University football players. I promptly reported the attack to police and got a rape kit done. As the victim, I did everything right… Because of the statute of limitations, I will never see the justice I deserve, but we can help the next victim. …”
Given the chance, she said, she would prosecute now.
“I was not given good information about my case so I then dropped charges after two weeks because I thought I didn’t have a case,” Tracy said. “But now to find out almost 17 years later that I did — I didn’t even need to testify — is heartbreaking for me.”
Rape, she said, “is not a cookie cutter crime.”
Previously, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association said a longer time limit for prosecution would encourage delay in rape cases.
“We are concerned that extending the statute of limitations would encourage victims to refrain from coming forward until many years later,” OCDLA representative Gail L. Meyer said in a statement. “Once critical evidence has disappeared, been tarnished or lost, it is impossible for a trial to accurately distinguish the guilty from the innocent.”
Tudor and Tracy are scheduled to tell their stories and explain why they’re in favor of this at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Life Christian Center, 5947 SE International Way in Milwaukie.
“I think right now my focus is on other survivors and victims and acting as a voice for them,” Tracy said.