CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed into law a bill that extends the statute of limitations for bringing forward rape charges from four years to 20 years.
The measure was spurred by a woman who alleges that comedian Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted her more than two decades ago.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas, sponsored Assembly Bill 212 on behalf of a constituent, Lise-Lotte Lublin, who alleged that Cosby drugged her in 1989 in a Las Vegas Hilton suite.
Lublin held a news conference Tuesday outside the Legislative Building with her attorney, Gloria Allred, Bustamante Adams and her husband Benjamin Lublin. They spoke after meeting with Sandoval, who had signed the bill into law on Monday.
“My husband and I started with an idea,” Lublin said. “This idea flourished into something that I could have never imagined.
“Victims of sexual assault and rape will be afforded the much-needed time to report a crime. Countless victims will be able to have their voice heard.”
She added that extending the statute of limitations to 20 years “feels like a dream come true.”
Lublin filed a complaint with Las Vegas police in 2014 against Cosby, only to learn that criminal charges couldn’t be filed because the statute of limitations had expired long ago.
The new law wouldn’t allow charges to be filed against Cosby by Lublin.
The new 20-year statute of limitations only applies to new cases and rapes that haven’t yet reached the former four-year limit. The law takes effect Oct. 1.
Allred said the law is believed to be the first in the U.S. to change the statute of limitations for rape since the Cosby scandal broke about six months ago.
“Predators should understand that they will no longer be protected from criminal prosecution for only a short period of time,” Allred said.
With the law affecting cases besides the allegations tied to Cosby, the advocates directed their comments toward other victims.
By extending the statute, victims have “the much needed extra time” to report their assault, said Benjamin Lublin.
Bustamante Adams said the increase is a “giant step forward for victims.”
The original bill would have eliminated any time limitations for bringing charges forward, but the Assembly Judiciary Committee amended it, putting the 20-year limit in place. The bill received unanimous support from the Assembly and Senate.
Lublin came forward with her allegations in February with her attorney and husband.
Over the past six months, about 20 women have alleged Cosby assaulted them over the years.
Cosby and his attorney have denied the allegations.
The bill had the support from the law enforcement community and organizations such as Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center in Las Vegas.
Contact Ben Botkin at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.