Jenny Wendt was a nursing student at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis in the Spring of 2005 when she was raped at her apartment in Indianapolis. Bart Bareither, her attacker, was a teaching assistant at the school.
Wendt says she did not report her rape to the police.
“DNA evidence was nil. I had no proof that I could show that it was Bart Bareither,” Wendt said. “With no DNA, it’s a he said/she said, and I figured I had no case,” Wendt said.
Last year, Wendt received a call from IUPUI police saying Bareither had confessed to the rape, saying he “felt guilty” for his actions.
At first Wendt was asked if she wanted to press charges. But when she said yes, police then told her she couldn’t.
“They told me I could not press charges due to the statute of limitations in Indiana being only five years for a Class D felony in Indiana,” said Wendt.
The five year statute of limitations applies to all rapes in Indiana except those that cause “serious bodily injury”, such as permanent disfigurement or unconsciousness. While Wendt says she was physically unable to move for a couple days after the attack, her rape did not meet that standard.
Since Bareither will not face charges, Wendt has decided to talk openly about what happened, and this week she lobbied state lawmakers for a change to the statute of limitations law.
State Senator Mike Crider, R- Greenfield, told Wendt he would introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session.
Wendt has also created an online petition at Change.org, where people are asked to support lengthening the statute of limitations on all rapes to at least 20 years.
“My story and my petition I think will make a big change for everyone who cares about this and who was a victim of rape,” Wendt said.