Day two of Nassar-inspired bills in front of MI Senate

Posted at 8:45 AM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 08:45:31-04

Victims of childhood sexual assaults would have more time to sue and athletic trainers would be required to report suspected abuse under legislation passing in Michigan after the Larry Nassar scandal.

The state House approved dozens of bills last Thursday, one measure would give Nassar victims a window to sue retroactively.

Many survivors have reached a settlement with Michigan State University, but money was set aside for future claims and other entities, such as USA Gymnastics which still face lawsuits.

On Wednesday state lawmakers will meet again to go over the house-approved legislation package.

The State Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. to discuss and possibly vote on the bills.

On May 24, the House Law and Justice Committee voted and approved a plan to protect Michigan's residents, especially children, from sexual assault.

“We have a responsibility to protect Michigan’s children and this plan will ensure significant and thorough protections will be in place,” said State Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Committee.

Kesto, a former Wayne County prosecutor added, “This is the culmination of a three-month inquiry into how Michigan State University addressed complaints filed against Larry Nassar and over 19 hours of committee testimony from Nassar survivors, parents, university administrators, legal experts, professors, medical professionals and multiple public and nonprofit organizations."

The Michigan House had scaled back the legislation inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case after Michigan State University agreed to a $500 million settlement with victims.

Changes include shortening a proposed one-year window for people to retroactively file lawsuits to within 90 days of when the law takes effect. The time limit to sue in other cases would be 10 years, though people abused as children would have until their 28th birthdays to sue or within three years of becoming aware they'd been abused.

People abused as children in Michigan generally have until their 19th birthdays now.

The House is dropping bills to strip a government immunity defense in sex misconduct lawsuits and waive notice requirements.

“The result is a plan that will drastically improve our state’s response to sexual misconduct, increase our standards and ensure there will never be another Larry Nassar,” Kesto said.

Kesto also sponsored two bills included in the 28-bill package:
• Updating current state law to modernize definitions for the crime of wrongly providing medical services under false pretenses so that it applies to both male and female patients, as well as increasing the penalties for violations to combat sexual misconduct in the medical field;
• Stopping individuals from using their position of authority, such as a coach or supervisor, to prevent or attempt to prevent reporting criminal sexual conduct to law enforcement or other authorities.
Kesto’s legislation, House Bills 5787 and 5537, joins the 26 other bills in advancing to the Senate for consideration.

“This has been a long process that is far from over, but we owe this to all survivors. I look forward to working with our partners in the Senate to find the best solutions for Michigan’s residents,” said Kesto, of Commerce Township. “This is legislation that will help protect my family, along with all of our state’s families, in virtually every way possible from sexual assault.”

A link has been provided with this story so you can watch the committee discussing the bills live.