Hagens Berman Blog

Sexual Harassment News: Clergy, Child Victims Act, MSU

by HB Sexual Harassment Legal Team

08/05/2019

Contact Us:

Should Clergy Be Required to Report Abusers Who Confess?

Lawmakers in Utah and New York are currently pushing to eliminate the confession exception, which they say has allowed religious institutions to cover up sexual abuse by clerics and congregation members. And they’re gearing up for battles against the Catholic and Mormon churches, both of which opposed a similar proposal that has stalled in the California state Capitol. read more »

Justice for sex crimes, finally: Starting Aug. 14, child victims can seek recourse in court

NY  Child Victims Act

As the world learns more details about the decades of sexual abuse against children allegedly perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein, we begin to understand some of the reasons it often takes years for adult survivors of childhood sexual assault to come forward and disclose their abuse, much less seek justice in criminal or civil court.

For decades, New York’s laws were among the very worst in the nation for survivors of child sexual abuse. In fact, the state’s statute of limitations was so bad it actually shielded monsters like Epstein and provided incentives for them to play a perverse game of beat-the-clock until victims no longer had legal recourse. read more »

MSU medical resident pleads guilty to reduced charges of sexual assault

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine medical resident Michael Phinn pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault Tuesday in Ingham County.

Phinn pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of assault with the intent to commit sexual contact, unauthorized access to a computer and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.

He originally faced 26 charges of sexually assaulting two women and hacking into six Sparrow Health System employee emails to copy their private photos after being arrested in October 2018.

Phinn's original 26 felony charges included one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, five counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of gross indecency, one count of indecent exposure, six counts of unauthorized access to a computer, two counts of assault with the intent to commit sexual contact, four counts of aggravated indecent exposure and six counts of using a computer to commit a crime. read more »