A 2007 Missouri Supreme Court ruling had banned prosecutors in child sex abuse cases from using "propensity evidence," which is often used to show a suspect has a proclivity to do the alleged crime. The ruling made Missouri the most restrictive state in the nation by banning such evidence as prior convictions.
Representative John McCaherty, a High Ridge Republican, filed a bill that would allow prosecutors to use prior convictions, along with findings by the state Children's Services Division indicating that sexual abuse of a child did occur, even if there were no charges filed.
The measure has already cleared the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee is considering legislation that would eliminate a time limit for prosecuting cases that involve sexual offenses against children or teenagers.
Currently, prosecutions must start within 30 years after the victim turns 18. It does not apply to cases of forcible rape or forcible sodomy, attempted forcible rape or attempted forcible sodomy and kidnapping.
A House public safety committee considered a proposal Monday that would repeal the time requirement for sexual offenses that involve someone age 18 or younger. The legislation also would allow child abuse cases to be prosecuted at any time.
In January, a state task force focused on preventing child sex abuse recommended eliminating the statute of limitations for first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy.