MI--Abuse victims: Reform predator-friendly Michigan law
For immediate release: Monday, May 11
Civil statute of limitations reform enables victims to seek justice from both the predator and his/her employer. Criminal statute of limitations reform only deals with living predators. So it deters employers from acting callously, recklessly and secretively in child sex cases.
Civil statute of limitations reform enables the truth about corrupt institutions to be revealed.
Criminal child sex cases are tough to bring and win. Predators are smart, police are overworked, prosecutors are under-funded, predators are smart, evidence can be scarce and the burden of proof is very high.
Civil child sex cases are also tough to bring and win. But the burden of proof is lower. And victims can take action themselves, through civil suits, to expose those who commit and conceal child sex crimes.
So while we welcome efforts to reform Michigan’s predator-friendly criminal statute of limitations, we also urge lawmakers to reform Michigan’s predator-friendly civil statute of limitations too.
The best way to make that happen is to adopt a civil “window” that enables anyone who was molested by anyone at any time to bring civil cases for a fixed period (usually 1 to 3 years). Several states – Hawaii, Minnesota, California, Delaware – have done this. Michigan should too.
Victims are more likely to take action against predators, because victims have a direct self interest in exposing their predators and in healing. They should have the same rights as other crime victims – to have a reasonable length of time to expose wrongdoers and seek justice.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.