Nassar in the News: Confidentiality agreement, sponsorship losses
The impact of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar extends beyond MSU, and its coverage spans internationally. Catch up with the Nassar-related news you may have missed below.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls, ranging from local gymnasts to Olympic athletes, under the guise of medical treatment.
He was arrested in December 2016 on charges of possessing “at least 37,000” images of child pornography to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the receipt, possession and destruction of child pornography.
Nassar pleaded guilty to a total of 10 first degree criminal sexual conduct charges in November 2017 — seven in Ingham County and three in Eaton County. His sentencing for each of these charges could range from a minimum of 25-40 years to life in prison. The Ingham County sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16 and the Eaton County sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
Nassar is also a defendant in nine lawsuits, all of which also list MSU, MSU's board of trustees and USA Gymnastics as defendants.
And now, for the news you might have missed, in order from most to least recent:
Nassar continued to assault patients at MSU even after he was cleared in a 2014 Title IX investigation, according to a report obtained by the Lansing State Journal.
The university allowed Nassar to work while a police investigation into his conduct was still ongoing, according to the report.
John Manly, an attorney who represents McKayla Maroney and other Nassar survivors, said that USA Gymnastics tried to cover up Nassar’s sexual abuse.
Specifically, Manly said that the organization paid Maroney to sign a confidentiality agreement in 2016 that prevented her from speaking about her abuse.
USA Gymnastics denied having initiated the agreement and said it was suggested by Maroney’s attorney at the time.
The MSU board of trustees said it intends to create a $10 million fund for counseling and mental health services in the wake of the Nassar scandal.
Echoing earlier statements, Chairman Brian Breslin said the university could not comment on specific details related to the Nassar case while legal proceedings are underway.
At its final meeting of the semester, the board of trustees and President Lou Anna K. Simon apologized to survivors of Nassar’s sexual abuse. Survivors and student protesters were present at the meeting, and largely criticized MSU for failing to protect women on its campus.
MSU has restructured its policies and procedures to ensure that further abuse can’t occur, Simon said.
Procter & Gamble and Kellogg’s pulled corporate sponsorship of USA Gymnastics as a result of Nassar’s sexual abuse scandal.
Representatives for both companies said they hoped the move would lead USA Gymnastics to continue to update policies and procedures to ensure the safety of athletes.
Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel left his position indefinitely on medical leave last week.
Strampel is a defendant in multiple lawsuits against Nassar and MSU for allegedly failing to report Nassar’s sexual abuse.
USA Gymnastics, or USAG, is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit from survivors of Nassar’s sexual abuse on the grounds that the statute of limitations has expired. The organization also said that they had no responsibility to report Nassar to MSU.
An attorney for USAG said that Nassar, not the organization, was responsible for his criminal actions.
MSU Police Department Chief Jim Dunlap alleged that former interim Ingham County Prosecutor and current gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer pushed to charge Nassar in a child pornography case but not for sexual abuse.
Whitmer reasoned that it would be easier to get a conviction in a child pornography case, Dunlap told The Detroit News. It was a point of friction between the prosecutor and MSUPD, Dunlap said.
Whitmer denied any reluctance to prosecute Nassar for criminal sexual misconduct.
Nassar has filed to appeal the 60-year sentence, the maximum allowed by law, that he received in federal court for possession of child pornography.
His attorneys told The Detroit News that he is likely to appeal other sentences if he is given the maximum sentence, but they will no longer represent him through the appeals process.