LANSING, Mich. — Senate Bill 1067, sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren), has been unanimously reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a favorable vote of 5-0. The bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a child.

“The sexual exploitation of children is one of the most heinous crimes conceivable,” Sen. Bieda said. “Michigan law must be able to hold perpetrators accountable, regardless of how long it takes victims to report, and I am glad that my colleagues and I were able to agree on this issue.”

Under the current statute of limitations, perpetrators can only be charged within 10 years after the offense is committed or by the victim’s 21st birthday, whichever is later. In many — if not most — cases, that’s just not enough time. Experts on child sexual abuse assert that many victims are too young to process or talk about the abuse they suffered as children. It can take decades for them to make a report, and by that time, the abuser may have escaped prosecution by virtue of a reporting loophole.

Aviva Woodward from Gregory was abused at the age of 11 by a family member, and testified in support of SB 1067 during the committee hearing.

“The lasting effects of what my ex-stepfather did to me has been worsened by the fact that once I was an adult and able to stand up for myself, I was still powerless in seeking justice,” Woodward said. “This injustice needs to be overturned.”

If passed, SB 1067 would eliminate the statute of limitations would give victims an indefinite path to justice and help make it easier to track patterns of abuse over time. That’s especially important when the effects of childhood abuse can span generations, exacting terrible physical, psychological, behavioral and societal consequences.