LANSING, Mich., June 28, 2024 — Important first steps in the fight to stop pedophiles and serial sexual predators, and the institutions that protect them, passed the House Wednesday evening 

Studies have shown that it often takes decades for a childhood survivor of criminal sexual assault to disclose their abuse. Due to Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation statute of limitations (SOL) and other laws that shield pedophiles and predators from being held accountable for their crimes, many survivors are unable to access the justice system when they are ready to come forward.

State Rep. Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Township) sponsored House Bill 4485 which extends the criminal statute of limitation for 2nd and 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct to age 42. State Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit), the lead sponsor of HB 4486 — this bill removes governmental immunity for criminal sexual conduct that occurs in educational settings. The final bill in the package, HB 4487, sponsored by state Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit), removes notice requirements for filing civil cases against universities.

“This much-needed package has been a long time coming and I’m proud to see it pass the House,” Miller said. “These bills are about protecting children, providing justice and holding predators accountable by ensuring that our laws don’t let criminals run out the clock on their heinous crimes”.

These bills are part of the Justice for Survivors package (HB 4482-4487) championed by state Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township). The package was originally introduced by former state Sen. Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) in 2018 after the heinous crimes of Larry Nassar were exposed. The Senate passed those bills with unanimous support, but the House dramatically narrowed the bills such that only survivors of Larry Nassar had access to justice. Michigan’s law has since been ranked the worst revival window in the nation by ChildUSA.

In 2018, the civil statute of limitations was extended to age 28, but only for crimes after 2018. This is decades before the average survivor of child sexual abuse is ready to disclose what happened to them and offers no recourse to those whose SOL has already expired. HBs 4482-4484 would extend the civil SOL to age 42, open a 2-year revival window for ALL survivors and open revival windows at any time against perpetrators with an existing criminal conviction.

“These bills are a great first step, but survivors shouldn’t have to hire a lobbyist to secure access to the justice system,” Brixie said. “Only when we finally hold pedophiles and serial predators accountable and the institutions that protect them, can we expect to see real reductions in child sex abuse. The entire package of bills must be passed to open the doors of our justice system to all survivors of child sex abuse.”