LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien reacted Wednesday to news that a settlement has been reached between Michigan State University and survivors of Larry Nassar’s crimes.
“I appreciate that Michigan State University recognized the importance of settling with the survivors,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “While no amount of money will ever compensate for the betrayal, violation, hurt and mental anguish Larry Nassar inflicted on this group of women, it is my hope that this painful chapter can be closed.
“This settlement does not lessen the need for changes in our laws, and Michigan can and must do better to protect our children. These survivors have shown strength and grace while turning this horrendous tragedy into action that will help overcome the past and protect future generations. I thank the many women who have fought to improve our laws in that effort that started with Rachael DenHollander and Sterling Riethman on December 5, 2017. Our state owes them and the many other courageous women a debt of gratitude.”
In March, the Michigan Senate approved legislation that would combat sexual assault and allow survivors to receive important protections in the state of Michigan.
Senate Bills 871-880 would expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of the accused being identified by DNA evidence.
The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims.
Additionally, the legislation would expand mandated reporting requirements to include sports coaches, athletic trainers and college professors. If an employee fails to report such crimes, they could face a felony of up to two years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both. A volunteer would face a misdemeanor of up to one year in jail, or a $1,000 fine, or both.
The legislation is under consideration in the House of Representatives.