Should Coaches be Mandated Reporters in Michigan?

June 20, 2018 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Coach with softball team
Should coaches in Michigan be legally required to report abuse if they suspect it?

So much has changed in Michigan in the wake of the Nassar case. And the law is no different. After numerous coaches failed to report the sexual abuse that multiple young girls told them about, the issue of coaches being mandatory reporters has been something of a sticking point. Which is why it has been reintroduced into the bill package that is making its way through the Michigan legislature.

So what exactly is a mandated reporter in Michigan?

Currently, Michigan law governing mandatory reporting of child abuse or neglect has a very specific list of people who are classified by the state as mandated reporters. A mandated reporter is someone who MUST report to CPS or the police if they have “reasonable cause to suspect” that child abuse or child neglect is happening, or has happened in the past. However, anyone not included in that list doesn’t count as a mandatory reporter, and therefore can’t be charged with a crime if they fail to report child abuse.

Are coaches mandatory reporters in Michigan?

The list includes doctors, nurses, teachers, counsellors, police officers and many others. But coaches are not specifically listed. However, in the wake of the Nassar case, this oversight was set to be amended by State Representative Brandt Iden. House Bill 5538, introduced by Iden, planned to increase the number of school and college employees who would be mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect. This was supposed to include coaches, assistant coaches and athletic trainers at all K-12 and postsecondary schools.

The bill didn’t make it through the House unscathed, however…

When Iden introduced the bill, there was a great deal of debate about whether or not coaches should be added to the list. In the end, concerns were raised about how adding to the number of mandated reporters would result in an unnecessary glut of reports that would clog the system. CPS can only handle so much, after all, and having too many suspected child abuse reports was believed to be an unnecessary burden on the system. No coaches were finally removed from the bill, and it was moved on to the Senate for a vote.

The Senate disagreed with the House, and out coaches back on the list!

After a great deal of debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee decided that coaches were a necessary addition to the state’s list of mandated reporters, and amended the bill to reflect that. State Senator Rick Jones, chair of the Senate committee reporting the bills, says he restored the provision because the victims of Nassar had reported their abuse to multiple coaches, and nothing had been done. The people of Michigan want coaches on the list, Jones says, and so he plans to give them what they want. The amended package now awaits approval in both of Michigan’s Republican-controlled chambers.

Being accused of child abuse or neglect in Michigan is serious!

With the nation as a whole on hyper-alert about child abuse, and more and more victims speaking out about what has happened to them in the past, allegations of child abuse are taken more seriously than ever before. Even if they’re entirely false! So if you or a loved one have been accused of child abuse or neglect, or failing to report child abuse, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled child abuse and neglect defense attorneys can help you through this difficult time.