Michigan lawmakers attempt to usher in new criminal sexual assault laws

Larry Nassar listens during his sentencing at Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Mich., Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. The former Michigan State University sports-medicine and USA Gymnastics doctor received 40 to 125 years for three first degree criminal sexual abuse charges related to assaults that occurred at Twistars, a gymnastics facility in Dimondale. Nassar has also been sentenced to 60 years in prison for three child pornography charges in federal court and between 40 to 175 years in Ingham County for seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. (Cory Morse /The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

The Larry Nassar fallout continues at Michigan State University as Michigan lawmakers are closer to passing new laws that crack down on sexual assault.

The conversation at the state capitol about sexual assault began before Nassar was even charged.

Democrats Curtis Hertel wants to require Michigan schools to teach affirmative consent in sex education courses.

"I think it's an important first step and I think if you talk with Title IX coordinators like I did this morning with Western Michigan they say it's the number one thing that would help them actually prevent these things from happening," Hertel said.

While he tries to get traction on his bill, Republican Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is working with her colleagues to extend the statute of limitations so survivors of Nassar can get their day in court.

"This acually gives them more time after they become an adult, it moves it up to the age of 31 or twenty years rather than the current ten years and 21," Schuitmaker said.

"We are looking at addressing the civil and criminal statute of limitations, expanding mandated reporters, having higher penalties mandated reporters," Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Portage, said.

Democrat Kevin Hertel's bill would go a step further by eliminating the statute of limitations for felony sexual assault.

"Victims of sexual assault need to go through the healing process. That can take time before they report those criminal charges. We want to give them the opportunity to do that," Hertel said.

While these bills wait for a vote, state House committees are demanding documents from Michigan State University to keep the college honest and reveal who knew what and when they knew.

"Not only about who knew what and when, but why it came to this end?" State Rep. Klint Kesto, a Republican from Oakland County said. "Why did it take so long to finally come to the prosecutor for prosecution? Why did reporting not lead to firing?"

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