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updated 9/10/2007 10:49:38 PM ET 2007-09-11T02:49:38

A failed lawsuit accusing soul singer James Brown of rape has led lawmakers to change a portion of Illinois rape laws.

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The law, which was signed Monday and takes effect Jan. 1, suspends the statute of limitations when the victim has been intimidated or manipulated into staying quiet. Currently, a person accusing someone of rape has just two years to sue in Illinois.

The shift is a response to a legal defeat for a state resident named Jacque Hollander, a former publicist for Brown, who died late last year. She says the singer raped her at gunpoint in 1988 and threatened to have her killed if she told anyone.

Hollander waited until 2005 to sue Brown, and the courts rejected her lawsuit as long past the deadline. Brown’s attorneys denied the rape allegation.

The Associated Press normally does not identify people alleging sexual assault, but Hollander has gone public with her story and spoken to news media.

Hollander said she’s thrilled by the change because it will help other women who are afraid to take action.

“Seeing that no one will ever walk in these shoes again is the win,” she said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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