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Rape survivor: statute of limitations unfair to victims

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah woman who was attacked by the “Jordan River Parkway Rapist” in the 1990s wants to see the state’s grandfathered statute of limitations rules, which apply to rape cases from before 2003, changed, on grounds that the law is unfair to rape survivors.

Cheraye Craig, who agreed to be identified for this story, says her rape kit finally got a match in 2012, 22 years after she was raped. But no new charges were ever filed.

Prosecutors told Craig that under Utah law, no cases can from before May 2003 can be prosecuted, even if DNA testing turns up a match later.

“I want to go fight and make a change and fight for every other survivor out there who is before May 2003, so they can have peace brought to them if their rape kit tests positive,” Craig says.

She says she is encouraged to see more old rape kits getting results, but she’s worried survivors will feel crushed if they get the notification that their kit has a match but it can’t be prosecuted.

“I don’t think we are any less valuable or any less important than those after May 2003,” she says. “We haven’t expired either, and we still continue to live with that memory.”

Craig says she was a young girl, just 13, when she was assaulted by the person who was later identified as the Jordan River Parkway Rapist. In her case, her attacker was already in jail for multiple other attacks.

We have reached out to numerous lawmakers and legal experts to try to understand why that date is listed. We learned that Utah did, in fact, remove the statute of limitations from rape and certain other sex crimes in 2013, but a Supreme Court ruling from about ten years before that established that you can’t extend the statute of limitations in a case where it would have already expired before the law changed.

In other words, rapes that have happened since 2013 have no statute of limitations, and cases that happened up to four years before 2013 could have their statute of limitations extended, but any cases before that would not be subject to the changed law.

A search of past stories about sexual crimes including rape in Utah turned up several similar accusations, where a victim came forward after the law was changed but no charges were filed because the statute of limitations would have applied based on when the crime was committed.