In November 2002, the complaining witness, then 14 years old and pregnant, first told medical providers and then the police that she had been raped by a 14-year-old classmate in her school. Once inconsistencies in her story were revealed, she stated that she had engaged in consensual sex with this classmate.
A New York Criminal lawyer said that, five years later, the complainant, now age 19, reported to the police that the defendant, her stepgrandfather, had engaged in sexual intercourse with her several years before. The complainant testified before a grand jury that, over three time periods in 2002, the defendant raped her.
The People filed an indictment, alleging that the defendant committed several felonies, misdemeanors, and violations during those three periods in 2002. The defendant moved to dismiss the indictment, contending that because the complainant had first “reported” the incident to the police in 2002, the indictment should be dismissed as time-barred. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the indictment in its entirety.
New York Criminal Procedure Law § 30.10(2) is a statute of limitations setting forth time limits for the People to commence a prosecution for certain sex crimes. The window of time to bring charges against a defendant closes according to the severity of the crime: for class-A felonies, the People can commence a prosecution at any time. For any other felonies, the People must commence a prosecution within five years after the commission of the offense. For misdemeanors, a prosecution must commence within two years of the commission of the offense. And for violations, which pursuant to CPL 1.20(39) are within the definition of a “petty offense,” the prosecution must commence within one year of the commission of the offense.
However, an extension of these time periods is allowed in certain circumstances. For certain sex crimes committed against children, the statute of limitations is tolled until either (1) the child reaches the age of 18, or (2) the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, whichever is first.
CPL 30.10(4)(a)(ii) excludes from the statute of limitations “any period following the commission of the offense during which the whereabouts of the defendant were continuously unknown and continuously unascertainable by the exercise of reasonable diligence.”
At issue here is whether the crimes charged in the indictment against the defendant are time-barred or, because of the effect of the above tolling provisions, are timely.
In November 2002, the complainant, then 14 years old, underwent a medical examination that revealed she was pregnant. She reported that the cause of the pregnancy was that she had been raped by her 14-year-old classmate, which occurred at their school. The complainant met with the police later that day. Once the complainant’s story revealed inconsistencies, she retracted her statement that she had been raped, but instead said that she had engaged in consensual unprotected sex with the classmate. At the time, she said that she had initially lied because she did not want her parents to know that she was having sex. As a result, she signed a statement that acknowledged that she was not raped as originally reported, and the case was closed.
Thereafter, the complainant, then 19 years old, reported to the police that the defendant, her stepgrandfather, did rape her on three separate occasions in 2002.
The first tolling provision, CPL 30.10(3)(f), applies, inter alia, to crimes involving a sexual offense against a child less than 18 years old. In such a case, the time to commence a criminal action is tolled until either (a) the child has reached the age of 18, or (b) the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, whichever comes first.
The second tolling provision, CPL 30.10(4)(a)(ii), applies to any type of crime and is not limited to sex offenses. In calculating the time limitation applicable to the commencement of a criminal action, any period following the commission of the offense during which the whereabouts of the defendant were continuously unknown and continuously unascertainable by the exercise of reasonable diligence is not included.
Turning to the first exception, the defendant argues that the sex crimes charged in the indictment, spanning three periods of time, were “reported” within the meaning of CPL 30.10(3)(f) on the day the complainant first spoke to the police about an alleged rape resulting in her pregnancy. CPL 30.10(3)(f) provides, in pertinent part, that “[f]or purposes of a prosecution involving a sexual offense as defined in article one hundred thirty of the penal law committed against a child less than eighteen years of age the period of limitation shall not begin to run until … the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency”. The complainant’s statement to the police on November 8, 2002, in which she never even mentioned the defendant, was not a “report” within the meaning of CPL 30.10(3)(f).
To Be cont…..
Sexual Abuse victims deserve to be counseled by lawyers who are dedicated and concern with the feelings of the victims. Here in Stephen Bilkis and Associates, our New York Criminal attorneys will help these victims by filing the necessary complaint in Courts in order for the offender be made answerable with his unlawful acts. Our New York Sexual Abuse lawyers will be helping you know your rights as a victim and to enforce these rights in Court.