Senate passes Nassar-inspired sexual assault bill, with changes to please universities | Michigan Radio
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Senate passes Nassar-inspired sexual assault bill, with changes to please universities

Mar 14, 2018

Credit Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Senate this evening passed a package of sexual assault legislation (SB 871-878) designed to stop the type of abuse carried out by former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The bills originally seemed to have a clear and quick path through the state Senate. But over the last few days, growing concerns by different groups, including universities and the Catholic church, prompted lawmakers to rethink some of the bills -- particularly legislation to lengthen the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in sexual assault cases.

State Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, was frustrated with the delay.

“Every single victim deserves to have their day in court and be able to have justice. Concerns over money and liability are what got us into this situation in the first place,” Knezek said.

In the end, the legislation that passed had changes relating to the statute of limitations for filing civil suits as well as more narrowly tailoring provisions related to governmental immunity in response to heavy opposition from universities, the Catholic Church and others.

The legislation is a response to crimes committed by Larry Nassar, a former sports physician who was able to abuse roughly 250 young women and girls over a period of at least 20 years without being stopped.

A Senate Republican spokesperson says they’re concerned about possible unintended consequences of the legislation.