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New law extends statute of limitations for sex crimes

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that extends the statute of limitations for cases of rape and other sexual assaults.

The new law extends the statute of limitations for the following crimes:

  • Second-degree rape to 20 years.
  • Third-degree rape to 10 years.
  • Second-degree criminal sexual act to 20 years.
  • Third-degree criminal sexual act to 10 years.

The legislation also increases the time period during which victims can bring a civil lawsuit for all these offenses to 20 years, along with eliminating the statute of limitations for first-degree incest.
"There has been an ongoing and pervasive culture of sexual harassment and abuse in our society, and it is made worse by the fact that victims of second- and third-degree rape only have five years to bring a legal claim against their attacker,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Five years is an insult to these survivors, and today we're providing them more time to come to terms with the trauma they experienced and to seek justice.”

Cuomo proposed these changes as part of the 2019 Women's Justice Agenda.