Legislation would protect vulnerable minors from sexual exploitation

LANSING, Mich., July, 2, 2024 — State Reps. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming), Kara Hope (D-Holt) and Jenn Hill (D-Marquette) introduced a package of bills collectively known as “Jordan D’s Law,” aimed at combating the growing threat of online sextortion targeting minors and vulnerable individuals. The legislation is named in memory of Jordan, a 17-year-old from Marquette, who tragically took his own life in 2022 after falling victim to an online sextortion scheme.

HB 5887 establishes penalties for individuals who intentionally threaten to release sexually explicit material to compel victims against their will. HB 5888 outlines sentencing guidelines for sexual extortion and aggravated sexual extortion. HB 5889 mandates collaboration between local school districts, the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan State Police and the Attorney General’s office to implement educational policies on the new law. The boards of school districts, ISDs, and public school academies must implement a policy to educate these individuals on the sextortion law.

“The alarming rise in sextortion cases demands immediate action,” Fitzgerald said. “With the FBI reporting a tenfold increase since 2021, affecting thousands of young people, we must act now to protect our children and hold predators accountable to prevent further tragedies.”

“This legislation provides the necessary tools to prosecute these heinous crimes and send a clear message that Michigan will not tolerate the exploitation of children,” Hope added.

“Education is key to prevention,” Hill stated. “By involving our schools and law enforcement agencies, we can raise awareness and equip people with the knowledge to stay safe online.”

The representatives urge their colleagues to support this crucial legislation, emphasizing that other states have already enacted similar laws to combat comparable challenges.

“The DeMay family is honored and pleased to see Michigan legislators bring our collaborative legislation to the table. The introduction of Jordan D’s law is made on behalf of our son Jordan DeMay and many other families and victims who may not have a voice and have suffered at the hands of social media. We are committed to addressing the online harms that face Michigan youth and the fight against sextortion. Jordan D’s law is the cornerstone for what will be robust legislation to impose criminal sanctions, awareness campaigns and tech company accountability related to online crimes against youth. The time is NOW!” said John DeMay, father of victim Jordan DeMay.