LANSING, Mich., Feb. 17, 2022 — Today, State Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) introduced a bill, HB 5767, to define grooming and allow evidence of it to be admissible in criminal sexual conduct prosecutions. Grooming has played a role in a number of recent high-profile sexual abuse cases, such as the Larry Nasser and Jeffrey Epstein trials.
Under the new bill, grooming would be defined in state law as “a pattern of behavior by an individual with either authority or influence, through age or other means, who engaged in a course of behavior designed to normalize unwanted sexual advances or contact.”
“This is about giving courts the power to consider every bit of evidence possible,” LaGrand said. “Grooming is an insidious, premeditated form of abuse and should be treated as such. Victims of grooming are abused by those they trust, affecting their ability to form healthy relationships and making them less likely to come forward. Grooming is particularly problematic, as offenders often groom victims and then claim consent for later conduct as a defense.”
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.