Tuesday, July 7, 2020

State's Nassar investigation continues, 3 MSU officials charged so far

January 24, 2019
Former Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon shrugs about scheduling during her arraignment at the Eaton County Courthouse on Nov. 26, 2018. She is being charged with four counts of lying to a Peace Officer about the Nassar Investigation.
Former Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon shrugs about scheduling during her arraignment at the Eaton County Courthouse on Nov. 26, 2018. She is being charged with four counts of lying to a Peace Officer about the Nassar Investigation. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has been investigating MSU’s handling of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, looking into who failed to protect hundreds of victims.

The investigation was initiated by the MSU Board of Trustees. In a letter to then-Attorney General Bill Schuette dated Jan. 19, 2018, the fourth day of Nassar victim impact statements in Ingham County, the board promised MSU’s compliance.

“It has become clear to us, then, that the questions that are still being asked about the Nassar situation will not be satisfactorily resolved until they are answered as part of a separate review,” according to the letter. “We believe your office, given its involvement in prosecuting the sexual abuse charges against Nassar, is best positioned to conduct this inquiry.”

Despite the university requesting the investigation, MSU has been “stonewalling” the investigative process, Special Prosecutor William Forsyth said in a public update on the investigation in December 2018.

MSU hired a private law firm to conduct its internal investigation and has not released adequate information from that investigation, according to Forsyth. 

The university refused to release 177 requested documents to the state. Files unrelated to Nassar were released, stalling the investigation.

MSU claimed attorney-client privilege for the withheld documents and results of its internal investigation, creating roadblocks on the way to figuring out what exactly happened.

“Sometimes in life, things are more important than money and finances,” Forsyth said in the update. “In this case, the survivors and the public deserve to know what happened here, but it’s pretty clear they’re not going to waive the privilege.”

Here are the individuals charged in the investigation and the progress that’s been made on their cases:

William Strampel

Former MSU dean William Strampel was the first to be charged, after special investigators seized his office computer using a search warrant. About 50 pornographic images were found on his computer, including several thought to be of MSU students. 

In June 2018, three women testified against Strampel at his preliminary hearing in East Lansing. They told the court they were solicited for sex, groped and sexually harassed — one woman while working under Strampel and two women who were medical students at the time. 

Strampel faces further scrutiny as Nassar’s former boss, specifically concerning the April 2014 Title IX investigation that cleared Nassar and allowed him to continue seeing patients. The investigation revolved around a complaint filed by Amanda Thomashow after Nassar sexually assaulted her under the guise of a medical examination. 

Upon conclusion of the investigation, Strampel was given specific guidelines for Nassar to follow according to a court affidavit. There was no enforcement or monitoring of the protocols. 

He faces two felony charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and misconduct in office, and two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect.

Kathie Klages 

Former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages faces two charges of lying to a police officer related to her knowledge of Nassar’s abuse before it was publicly revealed in 2016. 

Klages slipped out of the public eye after being suspended from coaching Feb. 13, 2017, and retiring the next day. MSU did not give reasons for her suspension. 

When David Dwyre, chief of investigations for the Attorney General’s office, interviewed Klages, she said she was not aware of the abuse prior to 2016, Dwyre said during her preliminary hearing in September 2018.

Survivor Larissa Boyce tells a different story.

Boyce and an anonymous witness testified they reported Nassar’s sexual abuse to Klages when they were teenagers in the Spartan Youth Gymnastics program in 1997.

On Jan. 19, 2018, Boyce gave her victim impact statement during Nassar’s Ingham County sentencing. She called out Klages for telling Nassar about her complaint in 1997, who then told Boyce the abuse was a treatment she didn’t understand. She also addressed Nassar directly.

“Had I known that you were such close friends I would have never told her. She put her friendship with you above all the concerns I had. She protected you over me, a child," Boyce said to Nassar during sentencing. “Kathie enabled and emboldened your pedophilia, which only continued to allow you to prey on hundreds of innocent victims — many who are sitting in this room. They should not be here. Some weren’t even born yet.”

Klages humiliated her after she reported, Boyce said in court and during her victim impact statement, bringing Boyce’s peers and university gymnasts that she admired to ask them if they felt uncomfortable around Nassar.

Klages is awaiting trial.

Lou Anna K. Simon 

Former President Lou Anna K. Simon resigned from MSU Jan. 24, 2018, the same day Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in an Ingham County court.

Simon largely disappeared from the public eye before resurfacing to testify before a Senate subcommittee about MSU’s response to the Nassar scandal on June 5, 2018. 

Echoing the statements that led to her criminal charges, Simon said she was aware in 2014 that a sports medicine doctor was under review, but not of the nature of the investigation nor that Nassar was implicated. 

According to Simon’s arrest warrant, she told investigators she had no knowledge of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016, when “in fact she knew it was Larry Nassar who was the subject of the 2014 MSU Title IX investigation." 

During the Title IX investigation, Simon met to discuss the case with Paulette Granberry Russell, former head of MSU's Title IX office and senior advisor to the president. Documents in Simon’s handwriting from the meeting are being used as evidence of her knowledge of Nassar’s conduct.

Simon faces four counts of lying to investigators.

Discussion

Share and discuss “State's Nassar investigation continues, 3 MSU officials charged so far” on social media.