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Man Charged 15 Years Later For Raping Teen Girl (Photo)

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A 39-year-old man has been arrested and faces more than 25 charges over allegations that he repeatedly raped at least one woman more than a decade before when the victim was 13 and 14 years old. 

Jimmy Dale Blackwell Jr. of Lexington, North Carolina, has been charged with 14 counts of statutory rape, 11 counts of indecent liberties, second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense, according to The Dispatch. Some of the rape allegations go back at least 15 years. 

The Davidson County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the abuse after an adult woman reported being raped by Blackwell on Aug. 25. While reporting the recent rape, the woman also disclosed that she had been previously raped by Blackwell when she was 13. 

The woman, who remains unnamed, told deputies she knew of another woman who had been raped by Blackwell when she was a teenager. 

The second woman had previously reported sexual battery by Blackwell in 2006, according to The Dispatch.

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"Detectives made contact with the victim and she disclosed that in addition to the battery incident, she was raped regularly by Blackwell when she was 13 and 14 years old," read a press release from the sheriff's office, according to WXII. 

Blackwell is being held on a $400,000 bond and is set to appear in court in December. 

Although the alleged rapes happened more than a decade ago, that is no barrier to charging Blackwell in North Carolina. 

Mother Jones reports that North Carolina is one of 16 states with no statute of limitations for cases of rape or sexual assault.

The other 34 states, along with the District of Columbia, have varying statutes of limitations for brining charges against alleged rapists, ranging from three to 30 years. 

Certain states also have DNA exemption laws, where cases can be brought after the statute of limitations has expired as long as there is DNA evidence. 

"In some cases, these laws have been around for centuries," Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, told Mother Jones. 

"The concept of the statute of limitations is grounded in fairness," Sandra Thompson, a former assistant district attorney who now teaches law, told Mother Jones. "Most of us can't remember what we ate last week -- it's hard to remember something that happened years ago." 

For some states, statute of limitations for rape cases remain law because no one has thought to change them. 

Mel Townsend, a rape victim from Kansas, lobbied state lawmakers to remove the state's five-year limit on filing rape charges. In 2013, the state eliminated the statute of limitations on rape charges. 

"It hadn't been changed before simply because most people were unaware that the statute even existed in the first place," Townsend told Mother Jones. 

Sources: The Dispatch, WXII, Mother Jones / Featured Image: Staff Sgt. Fernando Serna via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Davidson County Sheriff's Office via News & Record, Pixabay

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