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Sexual assault bills pass out of House committee

Some lawmakers in Lansing want to take away the licenses of medical professionals who sexually assault their patients under the guise of treatment.

These bills and others are part of ongoing efforts started by the Legislature last year to curb sexual assault in the state.

Larry Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years. After he received a de-facto life sentence, lawmakers started to work on new legislation to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

Last year, the Legislature passed laws to change the statute of limitations and expand who can give victim impact statements, among other measures. Now, lawmakers are working to pass some bills that didn’t make it across the finish line last year.

“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. We want to do everything we can to stop that,” said a sponsor of the licensure revocation legislation, Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City).

Other legislation that passed out of committee Tuesday would require medical professionals keep records on certain invasive procedures for 15 years. And one bill would change the Freedom of Information Act to keep sexual assault victim identities anonymous in some civil lawsuits and proceedings.

“This is a huge problem that we’ve really only started to scratch the surface on,” said minority vice chair of the Judiciary committee, Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) after the vote. “And we have to have a much broader conversation as a society about the endemic problems of sexual assault.”