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Far more often, system bias stands in the way, Park said, when police officers and detectives dismiss survivor testimonies and lose or mishandle evidence.

Rather than focusing on statutes of limitations, Park said policymakers instead should make sure law enforcement is trained to handle sexual assault cases appropriately.

“Tragically, there are millions of people whose childhoods are tarnished by sexual assault and sexual abuse,” Madigan said in an email to the News Hour.

“For decades they struggle to come to terms with the terrible impacts these crimes have on their lives – including the troubling fact that very few of the perpetrators are held accountable.” In recent weeks, high-profile and long-buried stories of sexual assault and harassment have cropped up across the country. 5, when the New York Times published its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Hollywood film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein, dozens of women and men have come forward with their own stories about sexual misconduct by other powerful men, from Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican candidate for U. Senate, to Charlie Rose, a long-time broadcast news host for PBS and CBS News.

Nationwide, one out of three women said they have been sexually harassed or abused at work, according to a recent poll from the PBS News Hour, NPR and Marist Poll.

Despite the ACLU’s objections, the California legislature gave it unanimous approval, and in September 2016, Gov.

Jerry Brown signed the Justice for Victims Act into law.

Policymakers are beginning to leverage a greater understanding of forensic evidence and technology, the impact of these crimes on victims and the fact that “we’re not keeping pace with these individuals,” O’Connor said.

Back in Illinois, Scott Cross has struggled since the 1980s with anger, pain and memories of sexual abuse he endured when Dennis Hastert coached him.

In August, Cross said Hastert “will never be held accountable” for the suffering he put Cross and his classmates through.

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