Last year, I co-sponsored legislation that will provide sexual assault victims greater opportunity to hold predators accountable. This common sense legislation should have been easily approved in both chambers and sent to Governor Snyder by now, but it still awaits consideration in the House.
Senate Bill 52 would eliminate the statute of limitations for second-degree criminal sexual conduct in which the victim was under 16 years of age. The bill would also increase the statute of limitations for third-degree criminal sexual conduct to 20 years after the offense was committed or the victim’s 31st birthday, whichever is later.
Currently, complaints must be filed within 10 years after the offense is committed or by the victim’s 21st birthday, whichever is later.
With the massive increase in sexual assault claims we are seeing, we must change our laws to ensure that victims have a course of remedy. This is just another tool we can give prosecutors in bringing criminals to justice and providing victims with the closure they deserve.
Larry Nassar, a Michigan doctor who worked at Michigan State University for over 20 years, and served as the USA Gymnastics national team doctor, abused his authority by sexually abusing over 250 young girls and women. Unfortunately, Michigan’s current statute of limitations prevented many of these victims from being able to seek out justice when their abuser’s crimes were finally brought to light. SB 52 would allow other young victims the chance to bring their abusers to justice.
In December, I had the opportunity to meet with two survivors of Nassar’s abuse. They expressed a strong desire to see the statute of limitations changed, since so many sexual assault survivors typically report abuse much later in life. For some of the other victims, their time is running short to under our current law. It is important that we pass meaningful reform to our laws which allow them time to hold their abuser accountable.
SB 52 was unanimously approved by the Senate in October and awaits a hearing in the House Law and Justice Committee.