Indiana woman works to change state's statute of limitations on rape

Though Jenny Wendt's rapist confessed to his crime, Indiana law prevented him from being punished. Now, Wendt is working to change this.

Posted on Feb. 27, 2014 at 2:38 p.m.

Although Jenny Wendt's rapist walked into an Indianapolis police station and confessed to his crime, he wasn't cuffed, charged or punished in any way. 

Believe it or not, it was Indiana state law that allowed him to leave the police station a free man. The state's statute of limitations on rape is five years. It means a rapist cannot be prosecuted for the crime after 5 years unless the victim can prove serious bodily injury.

Wendt is working to change this.

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis graduate, who was raped by teaching assistant Bart Bareither in 2005,  started a petition to lengthen Indiana's statute of limitations to at least 20 years or eliminate it altogether.

So far, 513 Hoosiers have signed the petition.

The Indianapolis Star reported that, on Wednesday, Sen. Mike Crider invited Wendt to meet with lawmakers.

"We talked about what changes we might be able to make in the code," Crider told the Star. "I will be looking at what other states do on the statute of limitations. My feeling is that (sexual assault) traumatizes a person at a level that five years is far too short for any circumstance that involves violence like that. Here's a young lady whose life was dramatically changed by that event."

Wendt, who expressed appreciation for lawmakers' support, told the Star she'll continue pushing for this change.

"I want to change this law for every woman from here forward," Wendt told the Star. "I hope no one will ever have to deal with Bart Bareither or anyone like him again, ever."

If you'd like to sign the petition, click here


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