Nearly four years after Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to six decades in federal prison for the serial rape and sexual assault of underage gymnasts as team physician for the University of Michigan and USA Gymnastics, athletic trainers and others who might have occasion to suspect abuse still are under no legal obligation to report their suspicions.
A bill that attempts to change that has been introduced in the Michigan state Senate. Again.
Michigan did, in the wake of the scandal, enact a series of laws in response to the Nassar assaults. But to date, athletic trainers, physical therapists and therapists’ assistants are still not among the many categories of workers listed as mandated reporters (including doctors, nurses, school officials and social workers). Sen. Betty Jean Alexander’s Senate Bill 415 would require those professionals to come forward to authorities. It does not include coaches among their number.
A substantially similar bill easily passed in the House last year, but it never came up for a vote in the full Senate, where members have said it was bumped off track because dealing with the coronavirus pandemic demanded their time, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Several of the underage athletes Nassar treated said they reported Nassar’s misconduct to adults who did nothing to put a stop to it. The accusations against Nassar stretched back decades, and some athletes at Michigan and other gymnastics organizations say sexual child abuse continues to plague the sport.
The bill introduced Wednesday has been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Veterans Committee.