(FOX 2) - Some metro Detroit state lawmakers are pushing to extend the state's statute of limitations for some sexual assault cases.
Inspired by the survivors of doctors at both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan -and the hundreds who have come forward to share their stories of abuse against both Larry Nasser and Robert Anderson - state representatives Ryan Berman and Karen Whitsett announced a set of bills they hope will support and encourage more victims to come forward. The new bills would allow more time for survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson to file lawsuits against the University of Michigan.
The representatives introduced the new bipartisan legislation Wednesday, joined by survivors of sexual abuse from the University of Michigan.
"I will not be silenced. I will fight for those who feel they did not have a voice," said Jon Vaughn, a former U-M student and football player. He says he was led to believe it was "important medical care" but Vaughn says the late Dr. Robert Anderson sexually assaulted him from 1988 to 1991 - and the memories still haunt him.
"We were abused, assaulted, raped. It has also become very clear that the University of Michigan knew. They made a choice not to protect us and, instead, the university enabled our abuser," Vaugh said.
"This type of behavior must be stopped. Survivors must be allowed to pursue justice as they see fit," said Rep. Berman.
The first bill, the Governmental Immunity Reform bill, would diminish a school's ability to claim immunity when the abuse occurred under the guise of medical care and the school knew or should have known.
"I was sexually abused 45 years ago and it was not until about six months ago that U of M finally admitted that there was abuse," said Tad Deluca, a former U-M student and wrestler. He says his wrestling coach and the university's athletic director both knew of the abuse back in 1975.
"I know because I wrote a letter and told them. That letter still exists," Deluca said.
The second bill is a statute of limitations reform bill that would give those abused in the past under the guise of medical care a one-year window to file suit.
"We're seeking for the powers that be to do what they're supposed to do and protect and help us," said Dr. John Lott, a former U-M student and football player.
The bi-partisan bills hope to not only support survivors of abuse but also their fight against their abusers and anyone who protected or enabled them.
"We are survivors and we will no longer be anonymous and silent," Vaughn said.