Legislation targets predators who exploit vulnerable adults
LANSING, Mich., Dec. 8, 2023 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 4320 and 4387 into law today. The bills, known collectively as “Justice for Allie,” make it a crime to knowingly take advantage of an adult’s vulnerable status to manipulate, coerce or otherwise force them to provide sexually explicit material of themselves to the offender or anyone else. The bills passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
“I’m so proud that every one of my colleagues present voted in favor of this critically important legislation twice,” said state Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy), who sponsored the bills. “The ‘Justice for Allie’ package was introduced by my two immediate predecessors — one Republican, one Democrat — and it’s an honor to see them finally reach the governor’s desk and become law.”
The legislation was named for Allie Hayes, a young woman with Down syndrome. In 2017, a stranger contacted Allie online and manipulated her into sending him explicit photos of herself. When Allie’s parents, Dawn and Mark Hayes, attempted to press charges, they discovered that this action was not explicitly illegal. Since then, the Hayes family has sought to fill this glaring loophole in Michigan law.
“Today would not have been possible without the tireless advocacy of the Hayes family, including and especially Allie’s bravery in coming forward to tell her story,” MacDonell said. “While nothing can undo what Allie and her parents have gone through, families across Michigan can be assured that law enforcement now has the tools to bring these despicable predators to justice.”