LANSING, Mich. — A bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren), that would allow minor victims of criminal sexual conduct to file charges at any time, has been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a favorable vote of 4-0.

Senate Bill 52 would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a child. The requirement that charges of criminal sexual conduct against children, under age 16, be filed within 10 years after the offense — or by the victim’s 21st birthday, whichever is later — would be removed, allowing minor victims to file criminal charges at any time.

“The sexual exploitation of children is one of the most heinous crimes conceivable and must be treated accordingly with appropriate punishment,” Sen. Bieda said. “Michigan law must be able to hold perpetrators accountable, regardless of how long it takes victims to report.”

Under current law, murder, solicitation to commit murder, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and violations of Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act all have no statute of limitations.

Livingston County Prosecutor William J. Vailliencourt, Jr. testified in support of SB 52 during the committee hearing.

“The work being done with the senator, victims’ rights groups, and others involved in the criminal justice system will make positive changes that will protect our most vulnerable victims,” Vailliencourt said.

Eliminating the statute of limitations would give victims an indefinite path to justice and help make it easier to track patterns of abuse over time — particularly important since the effects of childhood abuse can span generations, and cause terrible physical, psychological, behavioral and societal consequences.

“All survivor stories need to be welcomed to put an end to the pandemic in this country of sexual assault,” said Connie Nesbary, a licensed professional counselor and psychologist who also provided testimony. “Senate Bill 52 is a powerful step in that direction.”

“We all strive to do everything we can to protect our children and keep them safe, and this bill will give authorities greater power to accomplish that goal,” Sen. Bieda said. “As I see it, there should never be an expiration date for reporting criminal activity that involves children.”

SB 52 now heads to the full Senate for a vote.