LANSING - Legislation was signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Tuesday, June 12, which gives victims of sexual assault more time to file both civil and criminal complaints in Michigan.

The legislation was championed by a group of sexual assault survivors that was led by Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to come forward saying gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar abused her.

“My greatest hope is that this is only the first step in much-needed legislative reform,” said Denhollander.

Public Acts 180 and 181 extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases. Under the new law, if victims are under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, a criminal indictment can be filed within 15 years or by the survivor's 28th birthday, whichever occurs later.

This extends the statute of limitations in Michigan by 10 years. Previously for first degree offenses, there was no time limit on when a crime can be prosecuted. However for second through fourth degree criminal sexual conduct offenses, charges needed to filed within 10 years of the crime or by the victim's 21st birthday.

The law also says that criminal proceedings do not need to be brought for civil action to be filed, which needs to occur before the survivor is 28 years old or three years after they discover they have been a victim of sexual assault.

The acts were the result of Senate Bills 871 and 872, which were sponsored by Sens. Margaret O'Brien and David Knezek.

"I hope that today’s action and the work to come will help prevent these crimes and continue to change the culture surrounding sexual assault in Michigan,” said Calley.

In addition to extending the statute of limitations, the law also allows all victims of sexual assault after Dec. 31, 1996 to file civil charges if the defendant was in a position of authority or engaged in unethical medical treatment of the victim.

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