LANSING, Mich., Nov. 1, 2023 — State Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) praised the House Criminal Justice Committee for reporting House Bills 4482–4487, dubbed the ‘Justice for Survivors’ package, out of committee and taking action to reform Michigan’s narrow statute of limitations (SOL) after years of legislative inaction.
Michigan’s SOL for criminal sexual conduct is among the narrowest in the country at age 28, despite the fact that studies have shown the average age survivors of childhood sex abuse report what happened to them is age 52.
“Our state laws, as they currently stand, harbor serial sexual predators, silence their victims, and encourage institutions to cover up crimes instead of holding perpetrators accountable,” said Brixie. “I’m grateful that the House Criminal Justice committee passed real reforms that give every survivor access to justice that has been long denied.”
These bills are modeled after a package that passed unanimously out of the Senate in 2018 in response to the crimes committed by Larry Nassar. The bills were changed significantly in the House and tailored to only allow survivors of abuse by doctors to open claims, making Michigan the only state that has limited access to justice based on the occupation of an abuser. The 2018 package was written so narrowly that, 2 years later, survivors of University of Michigan doctor Robert Anderson were unable to pursue justice.
The package reforms Michigan’s broken SOL laws by:
- Extending the civil SOL from age 28 to age 52.
- Eliminating the civil SOL if there is a criminal conviction.
- Eliminating the criminal SOL for second- and third-degree CSC.
- Extending the civil SOL from the time of discovery from three to seven years.
- Establishing a two-year revival window for survivors whose SOL has already expired.
- Removing governmental immunity for criminal sexual conduct that occurs in education settings.