Defense makes its case in Strampel trial
The defense made its case Monday in the trial of former Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) dean William Strampel. The defense called two witnesses, and Strampel waived his right to testify.
Carol Monson, who sat on COM’s Committee on Student Evaluations (CoSE) and was a physician on the MSU Health Team, testified that she never heard any complaints from students about Strampel’s behavior.
In her role as a member of CoSE, she helped make recommendations to Strampel about whether students who failed tests or exams should be allowed to take remedial exams or be forced to skip a year of school, among other possible consequences. She said Strampel did occasionally override the committee’s recommendation, as was his right to do as dean.
“It wasn’t real often, but in the case of some students, he would make a contract with them,” Monson said.
This contract has been the source of testimony from several of the state’s witnesses, who allege Strampel used the contract along with sexual and inappropriate comments to make students uncomfortable.
Strampel faces two felonies, including second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two misdemeanors related to the abuse of disgraced former MSU doctor Larry Nassar. Before presenting its case, the defense requested Judge Joyce Draganchuk throw out three of his charges, but she denied their request.
Monson testified that Strampel never got involved with her scheduling or procedure when she was a Health Team physician, but admitted upon cross-examination that it was possible that this was only the case because she had never been disciplined as Nassar had been. The defense wished to show that Strampel would not have been directly responsible for the conduct of Nassar.
Dr. William Falls, a former COM dean, said Strampel was known to make sexual innuendos in conversation with both men and women, but he never observed any specific sexual harassment in a one-on-one setting between Strampel and a student. He would have been legally required to report anything he witnessed between Strampel and a student to the Title IX Office.
Closing arguments and jury deliberation will take place Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.