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Michigan's new sexual assault hotline was flooded with calls during Senate hearings on a sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The group that runs the helpline, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, says calls to the helpline increased 50 to 100 percent Thursday, as the hearings were widely broadcast throughout the day.

People around the world were stunned in early 2018 when more than 150 women testified at the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the Olympic gymnastics doctor who sexually abused patients for more than 20 years. How did he escape justice for so long? How was his appearance as the good guy, the ally, the protector maintained? Why did people keep trusting him? This October, Michigan Radio and NPR will premiere a new podcast called Believed that will answer those questions with greater depth and access than any previous coverage.

Michigan State Police

Southwest Michigan resident Melissa McMillan is suing a former Covert Township policeman she says sexually assaulted her in a hotel room while she was intoxicated, as well as the city and the county sheriff’s department.

Drew, Cooper & Anding / YouTube Video

A new law extends the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assaults to file lawsuits, and for suspects to face prosecution. It was signed Tuesday by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley while Governor Rick Snyder is out of the country.

The legislation had an army of advocates behind it – the survivors of 20 years of sexual abuse by disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. But they also say the new law is not enough.

University of Virginia

Michigan State University is hiring a university official with unique experience to advise on the search of MSU’s new university president.  

The MSU Board of Trustees is hiring University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan to serve as an adviser to the presidential search.

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

 


More than 30 bills in response to sexual predator Larry Nassar are moving from a House committee to the full House and back over to the Senate today.

Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

Republican Representative Klint Kesto is chair of the House Law and Justice Committee. He's been leading the negotiations in the House over these bills. Kesto speaks with Stateside about some of the changes House committees have made to the Senate bills.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

More than two dozen bills aimed at combating sexual assault passed the state House today. The bills range from tightening documentation requirements for physicians to increasing education in schools about sexual misconduct.

Lawmakers say the legislation is a big step forward. But others say there’s still more work to be done to combat sexual assault in the state.

Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., is chair of a House committee that worked on the bills.

Flickr User Thetoad / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Long-debated legislation in response to the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal could move out of House committee. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

There are more than 30 bills in the committee in response to Nassar. The committee has made amendments to some of them – but others might not get a vote at all. Bills getting changes include those passed earlier this year by the Senate.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing are focused on giving some crime victims more rights and protections.

Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide if convicted criminals should be required to listen to their victims in court. The legislation, on its way to his desk, is in response to a defendant who was convicted of killing a woman – but who left the courtroom during the family’s statements.

“For me, it’s a matter of putting victims first,” said bill sponsor Holly Hughes, R-Montague. “Putting humanity first is the principal of all this and making sure you do the right thing.”

Matt Patricia stands next to Patriot staff and Tom Brady
Kraft Sports Productions / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

New Lions head coach Matt Patricia has found himself at the center of a Detroit News story that reported: he'd been arrested in March 1996 and indicted for aggravated sexual assault. 

The case collapsed when the accuser decided not to testify.

Kaylah Otto / Unsplash

A Lansing-area police department that says it mishandled a complaint against Larry Nassar has reviewed 17 years of sexual assault complaints. Nassar is the former sports doctor who will spend decades in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

The Michigan Senate in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

Legislation meant to prevent victims of sex crimes from attending school with their attackers is one step closer to the governor's desk.

Saginaw County Jail

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has been arrested for a second time on sexual assault charges.

Father Robert Deland was arrested for the first time on Feb. 25, and charged with sexual assault of two victims, a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy.

Those charges included second degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency.

Deland was released with a GPS tether device, and was arrested again on April 5 on four additional charges.

Michigan Capitol Building
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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.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Senate may vote this week on a package of bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. However, some groups are expressing concern that the legislation would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

Ryan Basilio / Creative Commons

The Catholic Church's lobbying arm in Michigan says it has concerns with a bill that would retroactively lengthen the time limit for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.

Christian Cross
Waiting For The Word / Flickr CC /

A Saginaw Township Catholic priest is under investigation for alleged criminal sexual activity. 

Father Robert DeLand Jr. is the pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland and is a judicial vicar with the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

DeLand was arrested by Tittabawassee Township Police after being under surveillance beginning in November.

The 71-year old priest is accused of a sexual assault from August of last year. DeLand has since been accused of providing alcohol to a minor and purchasing the controlled substance MDMA – or Ecstasy. 

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

A high school freshman came to the state Capitol today to advocate on behalf of sexual assault legislation.

Gianna Duva goes to Brighton High School. She was sexually assaulted by a fellow student off school grounds. Duva and her mother unsuccessfully petitioned the school board when they found out her assailant would be allowed to return to school with her after he finished his sentence. So they went to the Legislature. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Democratic state lawmakers are laying out what they want in new legislation aimed at addressing the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.

Larry Nassar
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan prosecutors aren't planning to bring additional sexual assault charges against imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar, even though abuse allegations are still being reported.

Kent Cassella, a spokesman at Michigan State University, says there have been more than 60 allegations reported to campus police since Jan. 16.

Bill Beekman has been serving as the interim athletic director since February. Pending the Board of Trustee's approval, he will continue in a permanent capacity.
Michigan State University

Michigan State University Interim President John Engler appointed Bill Beekman as interim athletic director Monday afternoon.

Beekman’s appointment comes amid ongoing investigations into the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Most recently, Beekman served as acting president of MSU before former Michigan governor John Engler was named interim president on Friday, February 2. He’s served as vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees since 2008. He’s also previously served as executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.

Spartan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The NCAA has opened an investigation into Michigan State University's role in the Larry Nassar scandal.

This comes as the number of accusers is up to 265. 

At the same time, ESPN reports allegations of a pattern of mishandled sexual assault cases involving Spartan football and basketball players  – allegations that football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo are still struggling to clearly address.

BETSY WEBER / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

It is the most challenging time in the history of Michigan State University.

As MSU becomes the focus of a cascade of allegations regarding sexual abuse on campus, including accusations against members of the football and basketball teams, the school is also on a high-speed search for an interim president following the resignation of Lou Anna K. Simon.

MSU needs a president who can restore trust

Jan 29, 2018
Michigan State University sign
MSU

In recent days, I’ve heard people affiliated with various other universities say how glad they are not to be at Michigan State. Parents whose children go to MSU are worried. Not about sexual molestation, but about the school’s reputation.

Morgan McCaul
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

“But alas, Larry, you are merely a symptom of a sickness which plagues the very core of Michigan State University, threatening every little girl who steps foot on that campus. A culture of sexual abuse, and the perverse, deliberate inaction to hold predators accountable.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

We should find out next week how Michigan’s attorney general plans to investigate Michigan State University’s handling of the Larry Nassar affair.

The former MSU doctor was sentenced this week to a minimum of 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting young women seeking care for sports injuries. 

File photo / Michigan State University

Michigan State University faculty are now talking about a vote of no confidence in President Lou Anna Simon.

David Jesse, a reporter with the Detroit Free Press, wrote an article yesterday headlined, “Most Michigan State trustees quiet during calls for Simon’s resignation; faculty weighs in.” (Trustee Dianne Byrum joined Mitch Lyons in calling for Simon's resignation after this segment was recorded.)

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Holt Public Schools says it's planning an investigation and remedial action, after at least one victim of former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar says she was assaulted on Holt school property.

Abigail Mealy says she started seeing Nassar for treatment after an injury left her with severe back pain. She was among more than 150 women and girls who addressed Nassar during his week-long sentencing hearing.

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Dr. Larry Nassar, a former athletic doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison today.  He pled guilty to seven counts of sexual assault in Ingham County court last November.

Last summer Nassar also pled guilty to federal charges for possessing thousands of images of child pornography. More than 120 women and girls tell MSU police that Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of treatment.

Nassar was fired from MSU in September 2016. The university has hired attorneys to investigate who knew what about the allegations against Nassar.

MSU says it has no plans to release that internal review.

Meanwhile, lawsuits against Nassar and the university allege that MSU officials have been receiving reports of abuse since 1999.

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