Lieutenant Governor Signs Protecting Michigan’s Children Legislation Strengthening Sexual Assault Laws

LANSING, Mich. – Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed legislation on Tuesday sponsored by Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, and Senator David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, to extend the criminal and civil statutes of limitation to allow more sexual abuse perpetrators to be prosecuted.

Senate Bill 871, now Public Act 182 of 2018, extends the criminal statute of limitations for minors who are victims of second- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct to 15 years or until they reach the age of 28, whichever is later, for each offense.

O’Brien said the following about passage of the bills: “Rachael Denhollander asked an important question-‘How much is a little girl worth?’ These bills show our children are valued, and we will fight against predators. Our work is not done. These bills are the start, and we must continue our work in eradicating childhood sexual assault and abuse.”

Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Knezek, allows adult victims up to 10 years to file suit for sexual assault. Child victims can file civil suits until they are 28 years old or up to three years after the victim discovers both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the criminal sexual conduct, whichever is later. It is now Public Act 183 of 2018.

“When we began writing this legislation, our goal was to ensure that sexual assault survivors would have a path to justice,” said Knezek. “While this is only the beginning, I am honored to have worked alongside such brave women to craft legislation that sends a clear message: Michigan will no longer tolerate these heinous acts.”

Sterling Riethman is a Kalamazoo native and sexual assault survivor who supported the bills.

“Today is a monumental day for the state of Michigan, and what I truly believe to be the beginning of change for survivors everywhere,” Riethman said. “I am beyond grateful to the leaders who were willing to challenge the norm and engage in this critical dialogue by our side. I am particularly grateful for Senator Margaret O’Brien and Lieutenant Governor Calley for listening to us, giving the voiceless a voice, and encouraging the rest of the leaders of our state to do what is right.”


Photo caption: Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, (far left) and sexual assault survivors attended a bill signing ceremony with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Tuesday. Calley signed Senate Bills 871 and 872 to extend the criminal and civil statutes of limitation to allow more sexual abuse perpetrators to be prosecuted.