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Former dean William Strampel faces 4 charges, 4 victims detail incidents

March 27, 2018
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Four alleged victims detailed multiple incidents alleging sexual misconduct against former MSU dean William Strampel in a sworn affidavit, who oversaw the College of Osteopathic Medicine and supervised ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Strampel was arrested Monday evening and was held in the Ingham County Jail system, according to jail records.

In addition to one charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct — a high court misdemeanor which could carry up to two years in prison — Strampel also faces a felony count of misconduct in office and two misdemeanors willful neglect of duty as a public officer. 

Special Prosecutor William Forsyth, who was appointed to lead Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation into MSU's handling of sexual misconduct regarding Nassar, released a sworn affidavit detailing his findings.

MSU Interim President John Engler moved to begin revoking Strampel's tenure in February, stating Strampel did not act with a level of professionalism MSU expects from senior officials. The Wall Street Journal reported Strampel made comments in 2016 that he did not believe those who accused Nassar of sexual assault and did not want to fire Nassar.

Strampel stepped down from his position for medical leave in December 2017 after having served as dean of the college since 2002.  

The following is an account of Detective First Lieutenant Ryan Pennell of the Michigan State Police, who is involved with the Attorney General's investigation into circumstances surrounding sexual abuse committed by Nassar on MSU's campus.

Alleged incident No. 1

According to an affidavit in Support of Complaint obtained by court records, on June 29, 2017, a medical student met with Strampel to appeal a test score she received on an exam necessary to complete medical school.

Strampel denied the victim's appeal and said the victim would not perform well enough to continue in medical school. In the affidavit explaining the fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, Strampel suggested to the victim, who was 26 years old at the time, that 26-year-old women can "put-out" for 20 minutes with an old man, after which they could get the benefit of a free vacation. In that same meeting, Strampel also commented without prompting on the difficulty of sending nude photos. He told the victim if he ever caught them taking nude photos, they would be in trouble.

The victim interpreted these statements as a request to send Strampel nude photos in exchange for special consideration with respect to their education at the college.

Alleged incident No. 2

Victim 2, V-2, another student at the college, was summoned to meet with Strampel after falling asleep during a class, according to the affidavit. V-2 met with Strampel in his office and was directed to a chair, but told not to sit. Strampel told V-2 to turn around twice.

According to V-2, Strampel began degrading her appearance and told V-2 she needed to "dress like a woman." He then clarified she was never going to make it in the profession if she did not "dress sexier." According to V-2, this harassment went on for about an hour.

The following year, V-2 wanted to discuss an exam and was again summoned to Strampel's office. V-2 declined a one-on-one meeting and opted to attend a group counseling session hosted by Strampel. 

In that meeting, he said, "I hold your entire future in my hand and I can do whatever I want to with it." In V-2's third year of medical school, she met with Strampel again. This visit was to address complaints about V-2's surgical residency at a local hospital.

As soon as V-2 entered his office, Strampel directed her to slowly turn around twice so he could look at V-2's body. Strampel advised V-2 she needed to learn her place and life and asked V-2, "what do I have to teach you to be submissive and subordinate to men?"

Strampel threatened V-2 not to say "a word" about her residency complaints and if she did, she would be left with "burdensome" debt and no medical degree. He reminded V-2 he had a number of connections, not only at MSU, but around the country, and could bar them from working in the medical field. 

In V-2's fourth year of medical school, V-2 received a scholarship and attended a special dinner to honor the recipients. Strampel attended as a part of his duties as the College of Osteopathic Medicine dean.

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V-2 was called up to get her picture taken with the donor of the scholarship and Strampel. As V-2 stood next to Strampel waiting for the picture to be taken, Strampel reached around and grabbed V-2's buttocks and gripped it "firmly."

A few months later, Strampel approached V-2 at a luncheon and slowly looked them up and down from face to crotch, finally focusing on V-2's chest. V-2 asked him to look at her in the face. He responded, "eye candy is eye candy."

Alleged incident No. 3

According to the affidavit, Victim 3, or V-3, a medical student at the college, met with Strampel in 2014 to discuss an exam. When she walked into his office, Strampel scanned their body up and down several times, making V-3 feel uncomfortable. V-3 asked Strampel for permission to retake the exam, but Strampel said he "does not make exceptions" for anyone but would do so in V-3's case if V-3 signed a contract agreeing to leave the college if she failed anything going forward.

V-3 retook the exam and fell one point short of a passing grade, and was required to meet with Strampel again. He reminded V-3 about their contract and asked about a "Plan B" since V-3 could not "cut it" in medical school. 

Strampel suggested V-3 become a "centerfold model," and told V-3 of another student who became a stripper to pay for medical school. 

Strampel agreed to do what he called a "favor" and let V-3 take the exam a third time. In return, Strampel said V-3 would be required to "do anything" for him — if he called on the weekend and asked V-3 to come to his house, she would have to agree to it. If he asked V-3 to "weed the garden," she would have to do it. With the context, V-3 understood she were being asked to do anything he wanted sexually in exchange for the favor. 

Alleged incident No. 4

Victim 4, or V-4, went through similar experiences as Victims 1-3, according to the affidavit. V-4 "was not surprised Nassar had been able to victimize so many women under the supervision of Strampel."

Early in either 2006 or 2007, V-4 had a conversation with Strampel while working at a local flu clinic. Strampel turned the conversation to the subject of drinking and how "it was good when women were drunk, because then it was easy to have sex with them."

In February 2010, V-4 attended the college's annual Ball at the Henry Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan. During the event, V-4 was standing near the dance floor when Strampel approached V-4 from behind and grabbed their right buttock. When V-4 turned around and saw it was Strampel, she was "in complete shock, like a dear in the headlights, and did not know what to say." 

V-4 did not know what to do since Strampel was the dean in their medical school and "had complete control of (V-4's) medical career." 

V-4 told their partner about the incident, but decided not to report it, because she "did not want be thrown out of medical school."

Also from the Affidavit

During a press conference by Special Independent Counsel William Forsyth, who was hired by Attorney General Bill Schuette to oversee the investigation into MSU, he highlighted paragraph No. 28 in the affidavit as the reason for the charges.

Paragraph No. 28 reads:

"As Dean of the College, Strampel used his office to harass, discriminate, demean, sexually proposition, and sexually assault female students in violation of his statutory duty as a public officer."

On Feb. 2, special agent investigators from the Department of Attorney General retrieved a computer from Strampel's office at Fee Hall with a warrant. On Feb. 15, special agents submitted the computer to the AG's Criminal Division for expert forensic examination. 

The forensic investigation uncovered approximately 50 photos of bare vaginas, nude and semi-nude women, sex toys and pornography. Many of the photos appear to be "selfies" of female MSU students, as evidenced by MSU clothing and piercings featured in multiple photos. 

According to the affidavit, forensic examination shows someone attempted to delete some of the photos contained in a file folder on the computer's hard drive. 

Also uncovered on Strampel's work computer were pornographic videos and a video of Nassar performing "treatment" on a young female patient. 

One of the pornographic videos was accessed using an email program. The video, which was created on Oct. 31, 2013, depicts a female masturbating "at a very close perspective."

Strampel's receipt and possession of this material was in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy for MSU Information Technology Resources, which prohibits users from "utiliz(ing) MSU IT resources to store, display, or disseminate pornographic or other sexually explicit content."

According to court officials, Strampel will be in the 54B District Court for an arraignment hearing at 2:30 p.m. 

The affidavit can be read below:

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