Stateside: Why robocalls won’t stop; lawsuit over alleged prison sexual assaults; PFAS clean-up

Jul 9, 2019
Originally published on July 9, 2019 10:10 pm


Today on Stateside, we hear from two men who say they were sexually assaulted after being placed in adult prisons as teenagers. A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of other men with similar claims  is finally going to court after years of state opposition. Plus, if you're sick of robocalls (we sure are), we've got some bad news: They aren't stopping anytime soon. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 


PFAS activist says state “got played” by Air Force in clean-up agreement

  • The state of Michigan has reportedly struck a deal with the U.S. Air Force to speed the clean-up of PFAS contamination around the former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda. But not everyone impacted by PFAS in Oscoda is impressed, including Anthony Spaniola. The metro Detroit attorney owns land on Van Etten Lake in Oscoda. He joins Stateside to talk about what he says is "false advertising" about the Air Force's clean-up committments.  

What will new laws mean for your auto insurance bill? It’s still not clear.

  • It's been a little over a month since Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law changes to the state's auto no-fault legislation. But there is still a lot of confusion about what the changes will actually mean for consumers. So, will the new law actually help people in Detroit who are paying the highest auto-insurance rates in the state and the nation? Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton tells us what she learned from a town hall about the new law hosted by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Monday night.

Theater Talk: A play about chosen family; an adults-only Chekhov adaptation; and “Sweeney Todd”

  • David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined us to share new productions on stage at theaters across southeast Michigan. Kiley spotlights Purpose Rose Theater’s performance of Welcome to Paradise, Tibbits Opera House performance of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and the Barn Theater's performance of Sweeny Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  • Support for arts and cultural coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Sick of robocalls and phone scams? They’re unlikely to stop, says expert.

  • There were 4.4 billion robocalls placed in the U.S. in June ― that's a whopping six million per hour! Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined other state attorneys general in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on pre-recorded telemarketing and scam calls. Cybersecurity expert Adam Doupé says that is going to be a tough task. Doupé is an assistant professor at Arizona State University who studies cybersecurity. He joins us to talk about the most common phone scams, and what you can do to protect yourself. 

After years of state opposition, teens who say they were raped in adult prisons will have their day in court

  • In June, the Michigan Supreme Court cleared the legal path for hundreds of young men to sue the state of Michigan. The class action suit was filed on behalf of young male offenders who say they were sexually assaulted while in prison because of a state policy allowing teens to be jailed in the same facilities as adults. We talk with two survivors, Dominic and Elvir, about their experiences. We also hear from Deb LaBelle, the lead attorney in the class-action suit, about why minors are still being placed into adult prisons.  
  • We reached out to Attorney General Dana Nessel's office and the Michigan Department of Corrections for comment. They declined, citing the ongoing litigation. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said that more than 900 men were part of the class-action lawsuit against the state alleging the Department of Corrections failed to protect them from sexual assault while they were incarcerated in adult prisons as minors. While lead attorney Deb LaBelle says there are potentially more than 1,000 plaintiffs, but just over 500 have come forward so far. The post has been corrected above. 

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