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Bill would ban registered sex offenders from working with sexual assault victims

Jun 10, 2016

Michigan State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, introduced a new bill to ban registered sex offenders from working in organizations that serve sexual assault victims or children.

He drafted the bill in response to recent reports that three registered sexual offenders were found working for The Listening Ear in Lansing. The Listening Ear runs a crisis hotline for sexual assault victims. 

Hertel said he assumed it must be illegal already for the organization to have neglected screening volunteers for being on the sex offender registry, but it was completely legal.

The Listening Ear's sex offender volunteers included its coordinator, the public face of the organization, who was convicted in 1995 on two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person younger than 13.

"That is a very serious offense," says Hertel.

According to Hertel, the organization was aware of the volunteers' history of being sexual offenders, but allowed them to work there anyway on the basis that they had changed.

"I'm not saying they haven't, but we don't need to focus on the offender, we need to focus on the victim," says Hertel.

The legislation is intended to help ensure safe spaces for victims in their recovery from sexual assault.