Catholics, ACLU push back as Michigan bills to protect children from sex assault advance

Detroit Free Press

February 27, 2018

By Kathleen Gray

A Senate panel unanimously passed a package of 10 bills Tuesday geared toward protecting children from sexual assault, but the vote belied some concerns about the bills from both the Michigan Catholic Conference and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Included in the bills is an extension of the statute of limitations for both civil and criminal cases of sexual assault against children to 30 years beyond a person’s 18th birthday. And the sticking point for the two groups is that the bill makes that extension retroactive for civil cases back to 1993.

“There are constitutional implications on the retroactivity on the statute of limitations,” said Kimberly Buddin, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan. “This makes illegal an act which was legal when it was committed. … And the Supreme Court has held that increasing statute of limitations retroactively is a violation.”

While the Michigan Catholic Conference supported the bulk of the bills, David Maluchnik, spokesman for the conference, said it still has concerns about the retroactivity.

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