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Sexual assault bills pass out of House committee

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Some lawmakers in Lansing want to take away the licenses of medical professionals who sexually assault their patients under the guise of treatment. Bills to do that and others aimed at helping victims of sexual assault passed out of a state House committee Tuesday.

Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) is the minority vice chair on the committee that passed the bills.

"This is a huge problem that we’ve really only started to scratch the surface on and we have to have a much broader conversation as a society about the endemic problems of sexual assault,” he said.

One bill (HB 4373) would require the permanent revocation of a physician’s medical license if they sexually assault a patient under the guise of treatment.

Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) is a bill sponsor.

“Sometimes, the repercussions to the perpetrators, they’re allowed to go on and carry on their business and move to another area and do the same crime," she said. "We want to do everything we can to stop that.”

The bills are part of a number of bills aimed at helping sexual assault survivors that had some movement in the Legislature last year. Other bills would require medical professionals keep records on certain invasive procedures for 15 years, and would change the Freedom of Information Act to keep sexual assault victim identities anonymous in some civil lawsuits and proceedings.

The bills are in response to former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar. He sexually assaulted his patients for decades.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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