Holding the Catholic Church Accountable
In 2018, the state of Michigan released a new set of laws extending the statute of limitations for underage victims of sexual assault. Survivors can now file a civil case for up to 10 years after the abuse. If the victim was under the age of 18 when the crime took place, they can file charges up until their 28th birthday, or 3 years after discovering they were sexually assaulted.
These new laws give survivors time to remember and process their trauma before seeking damages. They are especially beneficial to the 300+ individuals who have reported abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.
An Ongoing Investigation
Since Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel began investigating sexual misconduct in the Catholic church in 2018, she has received over 300 tips. Nessel expects the investigation to go on for about two years and reveal more than 1,000 survivors of sexual abuse.
Similar investigations are taking place nationwide, but Michigan was the first state to serve its 7 Catholic dioceses with statewide warrants. Nessel urges victims to avoid discussions with the church and instead report abuse to 1-844-324-3374 or through an online tip form.
So far, 5 former Catholic priests have been arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct.