Ex-dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel’s case moves to trial
Ex-dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel’s criminal case will move to Circuit Court after a preliminary hearing on Tuesday determined there has been misconduct in the office and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Strampel faces four criminal charges, including a felony misconduct in the office for using his position to harass, discriminate, sexually proposition and sexually assault female students at MSU, a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and two counts of willful neglect of duty related to ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
At the preliminary hearing, photos and videos of pornography were examined and witnesses gave testimony of their experiences of Strampel’s alleged misconduct.
Many pornographic photos found on Strampel’s work computer contained pieces of MSU apparel and Judge Richard Ball ruled that a video taken from a “hidden camera” in Strampel’s office at MSU was irrelevant to the criminal case against him.
Brian Laity, a forensic expert with the Attorney General’s Office who was responsible for examining the images and videos found on Strampel’s work and home computer, testified he had found a video over an hour long on Strampel’s personal computer that showed students walking by his MSU office.
William Rollstin, assistant attorney general, said Strampel set up a “hidden camera” in his office in order to view "attractive young ladies walking by."
Strampel’s attorney, John Dakmak, argued that the photos and videos admitted were irrelevant to the case and that it is unclear as to why the camera was set up and how long it was there.
Judge Ball eventually ruled out the video in addition to another clip on his personal computer as evidence for Strampel’s misconduct.
Overall, 19 images and two videos found on Strampel’s work computer and one video found on his home computer were shown to the court. Many of the images contained bare vaginas, nude women, semi-clothed women in MSU apparel, sex toys and pornography.
Laity testified that all of the images and videos admitted accurately depicted what he had found on Strampel’s computers.
Women’s testimony on Strampel’s misconduct
The second witness is currently a student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. She said she had met with Strampel in 2017 when she didn’t pass a practice test leading up to The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX), which is the next step in receiving a medical license.
She said Strampel had denied her appeal to take the COMLEX exam within the first five minutes of the meeting, but he continued talking about irrelevant and inappropriate topics.
The witness said Strampel had suggested he wanted her to send her nude photographs when he told her in a joking matter if he ever saw a naked photo of her, she would be in trouble. She also said he told her his daughter was a nude model and that all young women have to do is "put out" for 20 minutes to get a vacation.
After her last encounter with Strampel, the witness brought her father with her to a second meeting regarding her exam.
“I was very scared to have a second meeting with him and again being in that same situation,” she said. “To be alone in a room with him again, that was very scary.”
She testified that, during her first meeting with Strampel, she felt like his comments suggested he indirectly propositioned her in return for a waiver to take her exam.
The third witness is a graduate of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. She said she went to Strampel to voice concerns about a situation that occurred during one of her surgical rotations and about her hours.
She said Strampel was visibly angry and it had sounded like he had been in an argument with the student he was meeting with before her. She said Strampel asked her to turn around two times so he could “calm down” and asked her what he had to do to teach her to be submissive to men.
“He tells me I need to stand,” she said. “Dean Strampel told me that he needed to calm down and collect himself, and then he wanted me to turn around in place very slowly so that he could look at me.”
The woman testified Strampel groped her buttocks during a scholarship award ceremony and that he made several inappropriate sexual comments to her.
The fourth witness is a third-year medical student at MSU. Like the second witness testified, she met with Strampel in 2017 when she didn’t pass the practice test in preparation for the COMLEX exam. She had also hoped to get a waiver in order to take the national exam and continue her education.
She said Strampel often commented on her appearance, saying things like “you understand, you’re a pretty girl.”
At the meeting, she said Strampel told her a story of a female student who got a DUI. When he didn’t punish her, he said the student had told people it was because she “gave him a blow job.”
The witness said Strampel’s comments made her feel uncomfortable and she didn’t “think it’s appropriate in any way.” Like the second witness, she brought her father to the next meeting she had with him.
“It’s not something I want to talk about,” she said. “It’s weird.”
Dakmak argued to Judge Ball that, as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Strampel was not a public official and there was no evidence among the testimonies given that the women had any “adverse action against them.”
"Regardless of meetings there was no quid pro quo and no adverse action to any woman,” Dakmak said. “Where's the corrupt conduct?"
Rollstin, however, argued that Strampel was a public official as dean.
"The idea is that we hold public officials to a higher standard," Rollstin said. "As you move up, more is expected of you and more is expected at the school over there at the College of Osteopathic Medicine."
Rollstin said Strampel used his power to try to get female students to send him sexual photographs and acts. He said "nothing could be more telling" of his conduct than the fact that two of the women who testified brought their fathers to their second meeting with him.
"He was a clever guy," Rollstin said. "He's manipulating the situation to his benefit."
After the preliminary hearing, Dakmak said there is much more to come.
"There's going to be more to be told in Circuit Court. We're going to have our motions in Circuit Court," he said.