Michigan Legislature seems to create youngster abusers registry

LANSING, me. (AP) – Macomb County’s Erica Hammel knew something was wrong with the person her ex-husband was watching her 1-year-old son, but says that 2013 inaccessible public records didn’t prevent her from knowing The Person had been charged twice with child molestation.

After her son Wyatt nearly lost his life to child abuse, Hammel campaigned for a child abuse registry. It was a yearlong effort, but on Thursday the Michigan Senate passed laws to create the registry. When it passes the house in the Lame Duck session, it’s called Wyatt’s Law.

Hammel said she tried to investigate the background of the perpetrator who was previously convicted of child molestation. However, without knowing the county where a crime was committed, the person’s full name and date of birth, it was impossible to access the information that was already public.

“If I had this information, I could have saved Wyatt. That’s what I was looking for and I had nothing, “said Hammel.

Wyatt is now 8 years old but suffered traumatic brain and eye injuries that required multiple surgeries and extensive therapy.

“He literally had the will to live,” said Hammel.

The proposal would require the Michigan State Police to create a computerized database of people convicted of child molestation in the state, including their name and date of birth, which are often needed to find court records. It would be a public website that would require those convicted of child molestation after January 1, 2020 to register for 5 to 10 years.

This is the third time the measure has been included in legislation and Hammel is hoping this will be the year it goes by. But she said she was ready to fight for it in the next legislative period alongside Christine Kadlitz, whose son was also abused by Wyatt’s abuser.

Bill sponsor Senator Curtis Hertel spoke in the Senate on Thursday and praised Hammel and Kadlitz, who sat in the gallery, for their tenacity in fighting for other families.

“This attack could have been prevented absolutely,” said the Lansing Democrat. “This is information that is publicly known, it’s publicly available knowledge, we’re just making it harder for people to get. We’re just trying to do this.” Make this information easy for parents. “

Mutton isn’t the only one campaigning for a child abuse register. In 2017, Indiana’s child abuse registry went online after the death of 19-month-old Kirk Coleman, according to Kirk’s Law.

Ohio is considering a similar system under Jacob’s Law for 2-year-old Jacob Barker, who died in the care of someone previously convicted of child molestation.

Mike Shirkey, Michigan Senate Majority Leader, echoed Hertel’s support for legislation and recognition for Hammel and Kadlitz, using their stories as a catalyst for change.

“There is no greater force on earth that is more powerful than that of a mother who acts in the defense of her child,” said the Republican.


Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national service program that lets journalists report undercover issues to local newsrooms.

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