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Former MSU President Simon charged with lying to investigators regarding Nassar

November 20, 2018

Ex-MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police as part of an ongoing investigation into MSU's handling of Larry Nassar.

Simon is charged in Eaton County District Court with two counts of lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation, a four-year felony, and two counts of lying to a peace officer in a four year or more crime investigation, a high-court misdemeanor with a maximum of two years, Eaton County Trial Courts Administrator Beryl Frenger confirmed.

Simon is the third person — after former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine William Strampel and former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages — to be charged by the Michigan Attorney General's Office in relation to its investigation into MSU’s handling of sexual assault reports involving Nassar. 

All four charges stem from statements made by Simon to Detective Sergeant William Arndt and Lt. Joseph Cavanaugh of the Michigan State Police, and relate to the 2014 Title IX investigation into former MSU athlete Amanda Thomashow’s abuse allegations. 

The first charge states Simon claimed she was not aware of “the nature of the complaint” that launched the investigation, when in fact she was. The second charge states when asked by investigators whether she was aware of an investigation into Nassar before 2016, she gave a false or misleading statement implying she did not know Nassar was the subject of the 2014 investigation, when she was.

"I was aware that in 2014 there was a sports medicine doc who was subject to a review,” Simon said, according to the charges. 

Simon was charged twice for each statement, both as felonies and misdemeanors because of the nature of the investigation. The first two are felonies because the officers were conducting an investigation into first-degree criminal sexual conduct, considered a violent crime. The second two are misdemeanors because the investigation was also looking into criminal misconduct of a public official.

The felonies each carry up to four years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine. The two misdemeanor charges each carry up to two years in prison with the possibility of a $5,000 fine.

Simon resigned as MSU’s president Jan. 24, 2018. Her resignation came after she and MSU’s Board of Trustees faced scrutiny from students, faculty and lawmakers in the board's handling of the Nassar cases. 

A press secretary for the Attorney General’s Office confirmed Independent Counsel Bill Forsyth filed the charges against Simon. Simon is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 26 at 11:30 a.m. in Eaton County. 

MSU Spokesperson Emily Guerrant issued a statement on the charges.

“We are aware of the charges brought today against former President Simon," Guerrant said in her statement. "She is taking an immediate leave of absence, without pay, to focus on her legal situation."

Questions were directed to Simon's attorney, Lee Silver. A message seeking comment was left at Silver's office. 

Survivors of Nassar's abuse took to social media to comment on the charges.

The warrant filed charging Simon can be read in its entirety below.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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