Facing charges of a felony and three misdemeanors, former MSU Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel was arraigned in East Lansing's 54B District Court via video call Tuesday.
Strampel arraigned in court, awaits preliminary exam
Judge Richard Ball went against prosecuting attorney William Rollstin, who asked for a cash bond and asked for Strampel, 70, to be deemed a flight risk and stay 500 feet from parts of MSU's campus since some alleged victims are medical students.
Instead, Ball said Strampel doesn't appear to be a flight risk and ordered Strampel to not have contact with victims, witnesses or current or former MSU medical students. Strampel may not travel out of state without consent of the court.
Ball set a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, meaning Strampel will have to pay $25,000 if he fails to show for future court appearances.
Strampel faces one felony count of misconduct in office, which can carry up to five years in prison, and a high-court misdemeanor of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which is punishable up to two years in prison. He also faces two counts of willful neglect of duty as a public officer, a misdemeanor punishable by one year in prison.
"My client denies ever engages in any inappropriate touching of anyone, students or otherwise," said John Dakmak, the attorney representing Strampel. "He denies there was ever any quid pro quo for sexual favors in exchange for any type of standing with the university’s medical school. ... We don’t even know who these individuals are. There were no romantic relationships with anyone."
Four alleged victims detailed multiple incidents alleging sexual misconduct against Strampel in a sworn affidavit. Strampel oversaw the College of Osteopathic Medicine and supervised ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
"In relates to Mr. Nassar, in 2014 when the allegation was made known to him, he immediately turned it over to the OIE, the Office of Institutional Equity," Dakmak said. "He was in constant contact with the general counsel’s office and their OIE. He was given orders from the OIE about how to address this. He followed those, including giving him protocols that the Attorney General has mentioned. The Attorney General alleges my client did not follow up on."
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.
Strampel, who stepped down from his position for medical leave in December 2017, was arrested Monday evening. He served as dean of the college from 2002 to 2017.
Prosecuting attorneys at the hearing said the news conference held Tuesday by Special Counsel William Forsyth, who was appointed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to lead an investigation into MSU's handling of Nassar, was their public statement.
Strampel has a preliminary exam at 9 a.m. on May 3 in 54B District Court.
"The idea my client neglected his duty will be (met) out in court, and we expect to prevail on that," Dakmak said. "We expect to prevail on the criminal sexual conduct fourth degree charge. We expect to prevail on misconduct in office charge. We look forward to our day in court. We will be coming back on May 3 for the probably cause hearing."
MSU Interim President John Engler released the following statement after the hearing:
"One of the first actions I took upon my appointment as interim president of Michigan State University in early February was to pursue revocation of tenure and removal of former Dean William Strampel. As explained then, it was plainly evident he had not acted with the level of professionalism expected of an MSU employee, particularly one holding an office that involves student and patient safety. MSU will continue to cooperate with all official investigations related to sexual assault or other misconduct. But we have and will do more. With our action to revoke tenure, we are sending an unmistakable message that employees who do not treat students, faculty, or anyone else appropriately are subject to administrative discipline up to and including firing."
When contacted for further comment, MSU's Communications and Brand Strategy referred to Engler's statement.
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Click here to read Engler's full statement.