MSU investigation 'top priority' for Michigan Attorney General
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette held a media conference Saturday regarding the investigation of MSU and its handling of sexual misconduct, particularly regarding ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. He said it is the department's top priority.
The MSU Board of Trustees called for the investigation by the Michigan Office of the Attorney General on Jan. 19.
Schuette assembled a team and selected William Forsyth, independent special prosecutor, to lead the investigation. Forsyth served as a board member for Michigan Crime Victim Services, is a 42 year veteran prosecutor and was previously president and director of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.
“It is abundantly clear that a full and complete investigation of what happened at Michigan State University, from the president’s office on down, is required,” Schuette said. “This investigation is and will continue to be independent, it will be thorough, it will be transparent, and it will be prompt.”
Though he gave no specific dates, Schuette said his department plans to find out who knew what and when, who took action, who failed to take action, what did or did not happen and what should have happened.
He said he will send a letter to the Board of Trustees asking for Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been assisting MSU with its internal investigation, to turn over all of the information he's gathered so far.
“The response to this simple request will speak volumes — will speak volumes — about MSU’s willingness to cooperate in this investigation. Conversely, their failure to do so will also speak volumes," Schuette said.
He said he will not be working with the Board of Trustees.
“I don’t need advice from the Board of Trustees at MSU about how to conduct an investigation," Schuette said. "Frankly, they should be the last ones to be providing advice given their conduct throughout this entire episode. Their conduct throughout this entire episode speaks for itself.”
A public report will be available after the investigation.
“It will be public, it will be transparent, and it will be a report that will be available to all of you to read," Schuette said. "We’re going to put a bright light — we will put a bright light at every corner of the university. This will be done right. Period.”
Every area of MSU will be investigated and the team plans to meet with every victim of Nassar's abuse.
“Let’s be very clear, no individual and no department at Michigan State University is off limits," Schuette said. "I’ve often said that there is one system of justice and the rules apply to everybody, the same way.”
Forsyth will work full time on the investigation. He said his goals are to find out who at MSU was aware of Nassar's sexual misconduct, what action they took and why the predatory conduct wasn't stopped.
“Now, I’ve done this for a long, long time and I have to confess that I have never seen anything like what has played out over the last couple of weeks in the Ingham County courtroom during the sentencing of Larry Nassar,” Forsyth said.
Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Etue was also at the media conference and said Michigan State Police will comply with the criminal side of the investigation and provide Schuette's team with anything they need.
“We’ve got to get to work, we literally have thousands of police reports to review,” Etue said.
Schuette did not take any questions at the end of the conference.
“If we have learned anything from the Nassar sentencing in Lansing," Schuette said. "It’s that too many voices of too many victims have been unheard for too long."