Ohio attorney general, legislator debate proposal to eliminate statute of limitations for rape

The Columbus Dispatch | Ben Deeter

In a debate Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Dave Yost got a preview of potential objections to one of his boldest proposals: ending Ohio’s statute of limitations on rape.

At an event hosted by the Columbus Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, a group organized around conservative legal thought, the attorney general and state Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican and an attorney, debated whether the statute of limitations on rape should end. Mary DeGenaro, a former justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, served as the moderator.

The fundamental disagreement between the two men has to do with whether the current statute — 20 years — does enough to properly serve justice.

Yost does not think so. He repeated a sentiment he shared in his early June announcement of his push to end the statute, questioning whether rape as a crime is more like murder or theft. In Ohio, murder has no statute of limitations.

“Rape is unlike even offenses of violence,” he said. “Even if you are beaten and your bones are broken, it’s different than rape. Even if you are the victim of an armed robbery with a gun put in your face, it’s different than rape. Rape is fundamentally a crime of power. It’s the domination of one human being by another.”

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