Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: End statute of limitation for rape, other sex crimes after abuse by OSU doctor

COLUMBUS – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says it’s time to end Ohio’s statute of limitation for rape and other sex crimes. DeWine’s comments follow a report that found at least 177 men were sexually abused by former Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss killed himself in 2005.

Were Strauss alive today, DeWine said, he would not be charged for his crimes because the statute of limitations would have long expired.

In Ohio, someone can be criminally charged for rape within 25 years of the crime. Civil suits are limited to within two years. Strauss worked at OSU from September 1978 through March 1998, and the report documents abuse as early as 1979.

"If this man was still alive and could not be prosecuted, I think people would be furious," DeWine, a former county prosecutor and state attorney general, said during a Monday news conference.

DeWine said sexual assaults have a different impact on victims than other crimes and should be treated differently. Oftentimes, victims don't come forward right away. 

Democrat-sponsored bills to remove Ohio's statute of limitations have failed to gain traction in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. DeWine said he hopes the Strauss case will nudge lawmakers toward changing the law.

A new bill, House Bill 249, seeks to waive the time limits specifically for Strauss' victims. Rep. Brett Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville, sponsored the bill. DeWine declined Monday to comment on the bill.

Michigan lawmakers passed legislation last year allowing victims of former Michigan State University gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to sue outside the state’s statute of limitations. The university agreed to a $500 million settlement with Nassar’s victims, who call themselves "sister survivors.”

Ohio State launched the third-party investigation last A...

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