January 13, 2006

Limitations on sex crime punishment need more debate

The Detroit News

Betty DeRamus

There's no time limit on how long victims of sexual assaults will agonize or ache.

And there's no telling how deep they'll burrow inside themselves or how much corked-up rage they're carrying around.

It's been more than 50 years since a stranger molested Sen. Shirley Johnson, R-Troy, on her way to school, but she has not forgotten the incident or shed all its scars.

It was in her heart when she introduced legislation in 2000 that eliminated the six-year statute of limitations for rape and other violent sexual assaults when DNA evidence is available. That legislation became law in 2001, the House passing it by 97-0 and the Senate by 35-0.

On Wednesday, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton revealed that he had been abused 60 years ago by a priest. The 75-year-old prelate didn't seem to have forgotten any details, including the fact that the unidentified priest would try to put his hands in "the back of your pants."

And like Shirley Johnson, Gumbleton brought up his never-before publicized abuse to make the case for legal changes.

Posted by kshaw at January 13, 2006 08:00 AM