A three-bill package has been introduced to better protect victims of criminal sexual conduct-based offenses in response to the recent Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University.
State Reps. Klint Kesto, Kim LaSata and Brandt Iden are sponsors of the legislation. “After the disgusting circumstances of the Nassar case, there’s a clear need to make sure all Michigan students have a safe educational environment,” said state Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Committee. “We must remove any barriers that hinder the reporting this criminal behavior, to make sure the proper authorities are alerted and action to protect students, athletes, and patients is taken. Nassar victimized young girls for two decades and this legislation will prevent another monster from doing the same.” Kesto’s legislation prohibits anyone in a position of authority from preventing an individual from reporting a crime, including criminal sexual conduct.
The legislative package also adds a mandatory reporting requirement for K-12 and post-secondary coaches and athletic trainers for criminal sexual conduct offenses. Sexual abuse, assault, or rape also would be added to the state of Michigan’s OK2Say program, which allows anyone to confidentially report tips or criminal activities directed at Michigan students, school employees, or taking place on school grounds.
“The victims of Nassar stated over and over they felt bullied or prevented from having a voice,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “This legislation stops that from happening again, while giving multiple options to report this illegal behavior.” The Nassar case showed a legal requirement for athletic officials must be added to Michigan law.
“It is completely unacceptable that our coaches and trainers are not required to report allegations of abuse,” said Iden, of Oshtemo Township. “Our children look up to these individuals to guide and protect them, not to turn a blind eye when something is terribly wrong. Identifying athletic coaches and trainers as mandated reporters is a step in the right direction and I am proud to be a part of this change.”
House Bill 5537, 5538 and 5539 have been assigned to the Law and Justice Committee.