Sen. Marty Knollenberg
Sen. Marty Knollenberg

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Marty Knollenberg joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing legislation Tuesday aimed at further curbing sexual assaults in the state of Michigan.

“The lives of the brave young women who came forward in the Dr. Nassar case have been forever changed,” said Knollenberg, R-Troy. “It’s time for our state to get tough. We need to give prosecutors more tools to get people like Larry Nassar off the streets and as far away from our children as possible.”

The ten-bill package would expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills 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 an accuser 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 and eliminate the current time limit for filing a claim.

“Coming forward and discussing their abuse is a very difficult thing for a victim to do,” Knollenberg said. “We can’t let people get away with unspeakable crimes because the clock has expired. These bills would allow victims more time to come forward as well as the ability to come forward anonymously. This would allow victims to work with law enforcement, but at a level and pace that is comfortable to them.”

The bills also increase reporting requirements for certain education employees and youth sports coaches. If passed, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and volunteers involved in youth athletic activities would all become mandatory reporters of child abuse. If an individual fails to report such crimes, they would face a felony of up to two years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both.

“One of the most troubling aspects of the Nassar case is the absolute failure on the part of people in positions of power,” Knollenberg said. “Multiple grown adults failed these women at every single turn. While I found this to be beyond disappointing, it was best stated at Monday’s press conference: tragedy often comes before change.

“I applaud the strength and courage it took for these women to face their abuser in court and work with lawmakers to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The bills received approval from the Senate Committee on Judiciary Tuesday afternoon and will now go before the full Senate for further consideration.