Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sen. John Cooke works to remove 10-year sex-assault statute of limitations |

Greeley’s Sen. John Cooke, the former Weld County Sheriff, wants to remove the statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes. 

The Republican senator is working across the aisle with Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, to completely repeal Colorado’s 10-year statute of limitations on felony sexual assault crimes, such as rape. 

Although the bill has garnered a lot of attention in the wake of the sex-abuse allegations against actor Bill Cosby — including allegations from at least two Colorado women — advances in technology and evidence collection motivate Cooke, he said. 

“Law enforcement is like any other profession. You grow and you learn, and there are always new ways to investigate,” he said Thursday. “Evidence collection is better than it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and it continues that way all the time.” 
"Well, that’s not the case when we have this type of physical evidence, and we have DNA. We can solve these (sexual assault) cases years down the road,” he said. “Rape is such a crime of violence. For God’s sake, forgery doesn’t have a statute of limitations, but rape does, so we need to do a little better job.” 

Removing the statute of limitations wouldn’t immediately bring every felony sex-assault case into court. It would give prosecutors the option to bring a case to court that occurred more than 10 year ago if they think it’s provable, said Weld District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kimberly Corban, herself a sex-assault survivor. 

Scientific advances in DNA evidence collection and retention, means many sex-assault cases can be investigated and prosecuted well past the current statute of limitations. 

 It is always going to be in the best interest of the victims — and the public — to give prosecutors the discretion to try a case, not let the statute of limitations decide what goes to court, she said.

Sen. John Cooke works to remove 10-year sex-assault statute of limitations |

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