Lawmakers to take up new bill aimed at protecting vulnerable adults online

Posted at 12:40 PM, Jun 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 12:40:58-04

(WXYZ) — A young woman from Troy who was victimized by an online predator will testify before state lawmakers Tuesday to fight for change.

Allie Hayes fell victim to an online predator six years ago. Now she and her family are pushing to make it a crime for internet predators to target vulnerable adults including those who have dementia or other cognitive disabilities.

At just 18 years old, a young man also from Troy coerced Allie in just 11 minutes to send him sexually explicit photos knowing Allie has Down Syndrome. Her parents Dawn and Mark Hayes were understandably upset and heartbroken and reported it to police. Ever since they've been pushing for a new bill.

"I was immediately filled with anger and disbelief. We just had to figure out a way to fix it and make it better," Mark said.

The young man was charged but under the law, there was a loophole. He spent less than a week in jail.

"32 other states have already figured out that this is a loophole they have to close, so it's time for Michigan to step up and get this done and protect vulnerable adults in Michigan," State Representative for Troy Sharon Macdonnel said.

Allie and her parents will testify in Lansing at noon.