Topic:
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PROSECUTION; CRIME; SEX CRIMES; RAPE;
Location:
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; RAPE;
Scope:
Other States laws/regulations; Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


February 15, 2002

 

2002-R-0185

CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSETTS STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS FOR RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT PROSECUTIONS

 

By: Kristina D. Arsenault, Research Fellow

You asked for a comparison of statutes of limitation for prosecuting rapes and sexual assaults in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

SUMMARY

Massachusetts has a longer statute of limitations for prosecuting most rape and serious sexual assault cases (15 years) than Connecticut has (five years). But both states allow additional time for prosecutions when (1) the victim is a minor or (2) the perpetrator is outside the state. Connecticut, but not Massachusetts, allows more time for some prosecutions when DNA matching the accused was collected from a crime scene.

MASSACHUSETTS

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for prosecuting rapes and sexual assaults is 15 years from the commission of the crime. When the victim is a child, the limitations period does not begin to run until (1) the victim has reached the age of sixteen or (2) the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs first (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 227 63). Another provision excludes from the 15-year limit any time when the accused was not present in Massachusetts.

CONNECTICUT

In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape and felony sexual assault cases is five years from the date of the offense (CGS 54-193). As in Massachusetts, periods when the accused is outside the state are not counted. Special rules exist for offenses involving sexual abuse, exploitation, or assault of a person under age 18. In cases involving such victims, prosecutions must be brought within (1) two years of the victim turning age 18 or (2) five years of the victim reporting the offense to the police or a prosecutor, whichever is earlier. The time period cannot be less than five years after the crime was committed (CGS 54-193a).

Connecticut also provides an extended period for prosecuting certain sexual assault crimes when DNA matching the accused was collected at the crime scene. Prosecutions can be brought up to 20 years after the offense, so long as the victim reported it to the police or prosecutor within five years of its commission. The covered offenses are: (1) first-degree sexual assault, (2) aggravated first-degree sexual assault, (3) sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship, (4) second-degree sexual assault, (5) third-degree sexual assault, and (6) third-degree sexual assault with a firearm (CGS 54-193b).

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on January 18, 2002 to raise as a concept An Act Concerning the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault of Children. The raised bill is currently being drafted by the Legislative Commissioners Office. We will send you a copy when it is released.

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