State lawmakers are considering eliminating the statute of limitations for sex crimes, like rape, and they’re looking to close a legal loophole that has been discovered because of incidents of “upskirting.”
“It’s a little nerve-wracking to be here today to testify to people I work for and with and to feel the utter embarrassment and shame that I’m the one this happened to,” said legislative staffer Erika Pocock in testimony before the Judiciary Committee.
Pocock was relating an upskirt incident that happened on an escalator at the state Capitol, an incident that was captured on a security camera clearly showing a male staffer placing a cell phone under her skirt between her legs followed by a flash.
Through tears, Pocock told lawmakers, “But at the end of the day, the most crushing thing was to see in court and hear that what he did was not punishable by law.”
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The male staffer was allowed to resign, but apparently was accused of other incidents at nearby retailers. But, because of a loophole in the law, he faced no serious penalty because upskirt in a public space is considered in “plain view.” You’re only protected if you are in a “dressing room” or a “bath room.”
“So if you were going up the escalator and someone were to take a picture of you under your skirt, you’re not entitled right now to your privacy because that’s considered ‘plain view,'” said Sen. Heather Somers (R-Groton).
Kerry Visone, a teacher from Cromwell, also testified to lawmakers on Monday on another proposal to extend the statute of limitations for rape, telling lawmakers she was raped 23 years ago when she was 19, and it has caused over two decades of trauma.
Holding back sobs, Visone told lawmakers, “It took a long time to get where I am now able to speak about this damaging event publicly, and I now see the full effect of the trauma on me and on my family.”
The proposal before lawmakers would eliminate the statute of limitations for class B and C felony sexual assault, and for adult victims, it would raise it from the current five to 25 years.