Catholic Conference Applauds New Laws to Protect Children, Create Safe Environments

Lansing (MCC) – Michigan Catholic Conference is applauding Governor Rick Snyder for signing into law yesterday six bills promoted by the House Law and Justice Committee earlier this year following months of deliberation and research on the topic of sexual abuse. The Governor also signed into law this year legislation – supported by the Catholic Conference – that extends the time period for criminal investigations in an effort to address the scourge of sexual abuse that exists across numerous sectors of society. 

According to Tom Hickson, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, “We’re grateful for the governor, Representatives Klint Kesto and Stephanie Chang, and many other elected officials on both sides of the aisle who worked throughout the year to create safe environments for children, strengthen existing statutes, and give a greater voice to those who have been harmed. Going forward, it is important to maintain vigilance in the fight against abuse and to ensure it is investigated and rooted out, regardless if the abuse occurs in private or public locations and institutions.”   

The bills signed into law this week, House Bills 5539, 5658, 5660-5661, 5794, and 5798 would, in part, expand the categories of harmful action that can be reported by the public to the OK2Say school safety hotline; increase penalties for possession of child pornography; require a minimum sentence of five years for a subsequent sexual offense against a child; and expand the pool of those able to give a victim impact statement on behalf of a victim in court.  Earlier this year Governor Snyder signed into law a measure that expands prospectively the criminal statute of limitations, meaning an extension of the amount of time that an allegation of sexual abuse can receive a criminal investigation.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.