Child abusers could face longer prison terms

May 18, 2012

The Michigan House has unanimously passed two bills that require tougher penalties for child abusers.

The bills are named after Dominick Calhoun. In 2010, the four-year-old boy was beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend. Brandon Hayes was convicted of first-degree murder and got a life sentence.

The boy's mother says her son was tortured for four days before he died. She claims she was beaten while trying to defend him, but she was convicted of second-degree murder.

Dominick's older brother witnessed the beatings.

Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, says the bills will create a separate crime for child torture in front of another child.

"In the case of Dominic Calhoun, he was literally tortured in front of a sibling," Lori says. "This is the type of thing we're trying to prevent in the future."

The maximum sentence for first-degree child abuse sentences is currently 15 years. Dominick's Law would make a life sentence possible.

The bills now go to the Senate.