Tuesday, September 22, 2020

MSU in court: School year wrap-up

April 25, 2019
Former Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon waits for a preliminary hearing at Eaton County District Court to begin April 16, 2019. Simon is charged with four counts of lying to a peace officer, including two felonies.
Former Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon waits for a preliminary hearing at Eaton County District Court to begin April 16, 2019. Simon is charged with four counts of lying to a peace officer, including two felonies. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

Several criminal cases involving Michigan State have proceeded this school year.

Attorney General's investigation

Three MSU employees in leadership positions have been charged in the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into the university's handling of reports of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse. William Strampel, former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was the first to be charged in the investigation.

In June 2018, three women testified in court against Strampel, saying he sexually harassed and assaulted them. The witnesses were MSU students and Strampel's coworkers.

Strampel originally faced four charges: Two charges of willful neglect, one charge of misconduct in office and a felony charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was charged with an additional count of second-degree criminal sexual misconduct April 12.

Included in the evidence admitted in Strampel's criminal case were pornographic images found on his work and personal computers. Some of the images include semi-nude pictures of women wearing MSU apparel.

Strampel is scheduled to go to trial May 28.

The second individual charged in the Attorney General's investigation was former MSU head gymnastic coach Kathie Klages.

Charged with two counts of lying to a police officer, Klages told investigators she had no knowledge of Nassar's abuse before 2016, when it became public. The Attorney General's office says witness testimony indicates Klages lied about what she knew.

In September 2018, two women — Larissa Boyce and an unnamed witness — testified that Klages manipulated them into not reporting Nassar's sexual abuse in 1997 after the pair notified her. They were teenagers and aspiring gymnasts at the time.

Klages' next court date is May 13.

Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon was the latest person to be charged in the Attorney General's investigation. She faces four counts of lying to investigators and is now undergoing preliminary hearings in Eaton County court.

Simon's preliminary hearings have lasted four days as the Attorney General's office brings witnesses into the case. The office says Simon lied about her knowledge of Nassar's abuse prior to 2016, as she allegedly met with the head of the Title IX office to talk about Nassarin 2014 .

Simon's next preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 11.

Other cases

A few MSU-related cases unrelated to the Attorney General's investigation will carry into the summer.

MSU health physicist Joseph Hattey is charged with one count of bestiality and is scheduled for a jury trial in Ingham County court. There were originally two charges against him, but a Mason judge determined there was not enough evidence for one of the charges.

Hattey is accused of penetrating his basset hound with both his hand and penis. The dog is no longer in Hattey's possession.

In June 2018, Ingham County Animal Control and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation into Hattey after receiving a report about a suspicious Craigslist ad. Hattey exchanged emails with the ad's author, who testified in court he was invited to Hattey's home to commit acts of bestiality.

The next court date for the Hattey case has not been scheduled.

Two women testified in court in January against Michael Phinn, a former medical resident at the MSU Clinical Center who they say sexually harassed and assaulted them. Both women worked alongside Phinn.

Phinn's charges include:

  • One count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct;
  • five counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct;
  • one count of assault as second-degree criminal sexual conduct;
  • one count of gross indecency;
  • one count of indecent exposure; and
  • three counts of aggravated indecent exposure.

Phinn is scheduled to appear in Ingham County Circuit Court May 7.

A few MSU community members have been charged in the deaths of two MSU students.

In October 2018, 22-year-old food science student Isai Berrones was found wounded at an apartment on the 2500 block of Chandler Road and pronounced dead at the hospital.

MSU student Ivan Keener, his cousin Angela Kelley and Kelley's boyfriend Steve Washington are charged in connection with Berrones' murder. All three are scheduled to appear in Ingham County court on May 13.

The other student death occurred in January, when salt truck driver Adam Young collided with 21-year-old Tiana Seville. Young, 22, is charged with a misdemeanor moving violation resulting in death and is scheduled to appear in court on May 22.

As summer approaches and cases move forward, stay with The State News for continued coverage.

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