Statutes of limitations in criminal cases are designed to protect the innocent. The longer an accuser waits to report a crime, the longer a prosecutor waits to bring a charge, the more difficult it is for the accused to fairly defend against it. Memories fade; witnesses and all manner of alibi evidence disappears. That's why for most crimes, there is a limitation on how long the prosecution can wait before the accused is charged. The horror stories of repressed memories cases -- witch hunts is a better way to put it -- are examples of what can occur. It should come as little surprise that in rape cases, there is a national trend to lengthen or eliminate statutes of limitations entirely. While the public happily embraces a get-tough-on-crime stance when it comes to sex crimes, the public isn't concerned with stories like this one:
Carl Chatman has been behind bars for eleven years. He was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2004. His false accuser not only sent Mr. Chatman to prison, she settled her civil suits against two companies, and two government entities, including Cook County, for an undisclosed amount of money because of the "rape."
Sadly, she can't be prosecuted due to the four-year statute of limitations on perjury. “There is nothing criminally we can do and there is no other real charge we can bring,” said a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney.
Oh, did we mention that the woman made a similar claim 20 years earlier against a Polish immigrant?
The bottom line for false rape claims: the better the lie, the more likely it is that a false rape accuser will beat the statute of limitations because her lie won't be unraveled before the statute runs out. There's something terribly wrong with that.