The emotional stories of women who say they were sexually assaulted more than a decade ago by Bill Cosby prompted California state lawmakers to approve a bill to eliminate the state's 10-year limit on filing rape and related charges. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he has approved the legislation to revoke that limitation, the AP reports. Beginning next year, the bill will end the statute of limitations in certain rape and child molestation cases. It will also end the time limit on older cases in which the statute of limitations has not yet expired. The new law, SB813, will not, however, help women who made allegations against Cosby dating back more than 10 years, including some from the 1960s.
California lawmakers sent the statute of limitations bill to Brown without a single dissenting vote. The bill's signing "tells every rape and sexual assault victim in California that they matter and that, regardless of when they are ready to come forward, they will always have an opportunity to seek justice in a court of law," State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, said in a statement. "Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired." Seventeen other states already have no statute of limitations on rape, according to the California Women's Law Center. Cosby has repeatedly denied the sex abuse allegations made by dozens of women nationwide. He is facing just one criminal case stemming from sex abuse. A trial is set to begin in June in Pennsylvania.