Good Morning America this morning ran a lengthy story about a woman, shown but not identified, who believes that 25 years after she was beaten and raped at knifepoint in her family's home, the Dallas Police Department has solved the crime. The attack occurred when she was 12, but last fall, Sgt. Patrick Welsh, who heads the DPD's sexual assault cold case program, gave her the news that he'd identified the alleged assailant, as WFAA-Channel 8's Rebecca Lopez first reported in September.
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But the man can't be prosecuted, as the statute of limitation has run out. And that, says DPD Lt. Sally Lannom in the GMA follow-up, is "unfair," especially in the age of DNA testing. Texas has, in fact, dropped the five-year statute of limitations because of the availability and accuracy of DNA evidence; 14 other states have not. But the change in the law does not apply to this woman's case. "If DNA is good to exonerate someone and that's good for a lifetime, and rightfully so if you have been wrongfully convicted," says Lannom, who supervises sex assaults cases, "why shouldn't DNA be used on the other side, the flip side, to be able to hold people accountable for their criminal action?"