Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday evening approved a legislative package that seeks to curb sexual assaults in the state of Michigan.

“This is not just about the victims of Dr. Nassar,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “These brave young women selflessly came forward to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. I thank them for their courage and work toward creating a safer future for Michigan’s children.”

The legislation would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of the accused being identified by DNA evidence.

The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims.

“Coming forward and discussing their abuse is a very difficult thing for a victim to do,” Knollenberg said. “Many mental health professionals will tell you from first-hand experience that creating an environment where a victim is comfortable enough to talk takes a long time and a great deal of effort. We cannot rush victims to discuss their horrific experiences and allow their perpetrator to go free because they were not ready to come forward.”

The bills would also expand mandated reporting requirements to include sports coaches, athletic trainers and college professors. Senate Bill 877, which Knollenberg sponsored, would remove governmental immunity that government institutions and staff acting on behalf of such institutions have under current law.

“We need to hold adult enablers accountable,” Knollenberg said. “We need to send a clear message that silencing victims is not only horrific and morally wrong, but will now be dealt with much more seriously under these bills.”

SBs 871-880 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.