We support House Bill 1155 and urge the state Legislature to approve it | In Our Opinion

We support House Bill 1155 and urge the state Legislature to approve it and the governor to sign it and make it law.

As reported in the story, “Getting tough on sex crimes,” on Kitsap Daily News, the bill would remove the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes in Washington state.

Currently, the statute of limitations is three years. HB 1155, approved 90-8 by the state House of Representatives and referred to the state Senate, would make felony sex offenses prosecutable any time after they were committed. That’s important because sex crimes are often not immediately reported.

The bill’s 13 sponsors include Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn; and Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard.

This law would make an important statement about sex crimes, including human trafficking. It says “in a very public way that we take these crimes so seriously that we’re removing the statute of limitations,” Bremerton Police Chief Steven Strachan told Kitsap News Group. Victims deserve that assurance, and we hope they will be encouraged by this public statement to report crimes that have been committed against them.

This law would also send a powerful message to would-be perpetrators: “The message it sends is, this never goes away. You can and will be held accountable forever,” Strachan said.

Currently, the only crimes in Washington state for which there are no statute of limitations is murder, homicide by abuse, arson resulting in death, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault resulting in death, and hit-and-run resulting in death.

HB 1155 adds to that list such crimes as first-, second- and third-degree rape of an adult or child; first-, second- and third-degree child molestation; first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor; indecent liberties; voyeurism; and incest. It also takes aim at perpetrators of human trafficking, particularly of minors, by removing the statute of limitations for sexual exploitation of a minor; communication with a minor for immoral purposes; commercial sexual abuse of a minor; promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor; and promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

HB 1155 should be approved and signed into law.