Cuomo signs bill extending statute of limitations for rape

The New York State Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (Courtesy of Governor's Press Office)

NEW YORK (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday to make it easier to prosecute some sex crimes by extending the statute of limitations for second and third-degree rape.

The Democratic governor was joined by actresses Mira Sorvino and Julianne Moore as well as activists from the group Time's Up as he signed the measure at his Manhattan office.

Cuomo said rape and abuse are more common than people realize or acknowledge. "Denial is not a strategy," he said. "We've denied this for too long."

The new law extends the statute of limitations from five years to 20 years for second-degree rape and from five years to 10 years for third-degree rape. Second and third-degree rape can be charged under New York law when a victim cannot consent to sex either because of age or incapacity.

Sorvino, who has spoken before about being a survivor of date rape, said every time someone stands up to "rape culture" it means "we stand up for all of us."

"There is a hunger out there for justice," Sorvino said, "and we are here to tell all of you who feel that hunger that we are getting closer to that day when predators will not abuse unabated in an atmosphere of impunity."