Sunday, September 19, 2021

A timeline of Nassar's abuse, charges and Michigan State's response

January 26, 2021
<p>A sign supporting survivors sits at the back of the room for the Teal Ribbon Ceremony at the 2019 Teal Ribbon Award and Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the MSU Union on April 15, 2019.</p>

A sign supporting survivors sits at the back of the room for the Teal Ribbon Ceremony at the 2019 Teal Ribbon Award and Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the MSU Union on April 15, 2019.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Content warning: contains descriptions of sexual abuse, harassment

Larry Nassar, an ex-Michigan State and USA Gymnastics sports doctor, was accused of two separate counts of sexual abuse on Sept. 13, 2016.

This timeline could begin in 2014, when Amanda Thomashow filed a Title IX complaint against Nassar as an MSU student. It could begin even further back, in 1997, when former MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages received reports of Nassar's abuse. His crimes spanned decades, and his conviction created a rupture within the university administration, created state and federal investigations into who knew what and when, and spawned many questions into how the university addresses sexual misconduct allegations, some that remain to be answered.

Nassar was investigated in 2014 for similar allegations, but he was cleared of misconduct. The MSU police department (MSUPD) submitted their findings to the Ingham County Prosecutor's office and no charges were filed at that time.

According to a 19-page report obtained by the Lansing State Journal, Nassar received clearance from the Title IX investigation in 2014 and went back to practicing on July 30, 2014. MSUPD's criminal investigation was ongoing. After July 30, 2014, at least twelve assaults had been reported. The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office declined to charge Nassar after MSUPD requested Nassar be charged with sexual assault.

Jason Cody, the MSU spokesman at the time, said Nassar had been "temporarily relieved of clinical and patient duties as of Aug. 30, 2016, as part of an investigation into alleged misconduct ... in response to a complaint made to authorities on Aug. 29, 2016." 

Nassar was, however, placed on "certain employment requirements." According to an NBC News investigation from Dec. 23, 2016, Nassar was required to have another person in the room while “approaching a patient to perform procedures of anything close to a sensitive nature.” 

MSU fired Nassar Sept. 20, 2016.

20181029s-4

24 reports of alleged abuse date back to 1998, all reported to MSUPD after the publication of the Indianapolis Star story on Sept. 13, 2016, except for one, filed Aug. 29, 2016. 

Reported cases of misconduct included first-degree charges of vaginal penetration, oral/anal penetration or object penetration. Complaints allegedly took place close to the MSU community, including an office building adjacent to MSU Sports Medicine that houses the Michigan Athletic Club, and the building where MSU Sports Medicine is located. While complaints were being investigated, Nassar was running to be a representative for Holt Public School’s Board of Education. 

November 2016

The State News reported on Nov. 10, 2016, that there were at least 42 reported instances of sexual assault occurring in areas Nassar worked. Nassar was also facing additional lawsuits related to sexual abuse along with former associates, Bela and Marta Karolyi, former U.S. Olympics national team coordinators. 

On Nov. 21, 2016, former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office obtained a felony warrant for Nassar's arrest on three charges of first-degree sexual conduct with a person under 13. Once in custody on Nov. 22, 2016, Nassar's bond was set at $1,000,000. 

On Nov. 30, 2016, The State News acquired court documents stating lawyers filed a letter in the Court of Claims as a notice of intent to file the following claims: "Violations of Title IX," "Negligent failure to warn, train or educate," "Negligent supervision," "Constructive Fraud" and "Negligent Hiring and Retention." 

December 2016

Nassar was arrested in mid-December following an FBI investigation that found 37,000 images and videos of child pornography on his property. It included GoPro videos of Nassar molesting children. As of Dec. 23, 2016, around 60 women came out with allegations against Nassar.

February 2017 

On Feb. 8, 2017, Nassar was charged with destroying digital images and documents related to an investigation of his alleged sexual abuse of patients and possession of child pornography. 

Eight days later, Klages retired from her position due to allegations that she discouraged athletes from reporting sexual abuse. Two motions from a lawsuit alleged Klages was aware of Nassar's misconduct since 1997. 

Do you want the news without having to hunt for it? Sign up for our morning s'newsletter. It's everything your friends are talking about and then some. And it's free!

July 2017

rocknew-3

Nassar was accused of sexual assault by 119 women by trial. He pleaded guilty to three counts of child pornography charges in federal court on July 11, 2017. He signed a plea agreement admitting guilt to counts of acquiring and possessing more than 37,000 images of child pornography. 

November 2017

Nassar pleaded guilty to 22 counts of criminal sexual conduct of the first degree in Ingham and Eaton counties on Nov. 22 and Nov. 29, 2017, respectively. Nassar's federal child pornography charges — to which he pleaded guilty in federal court — were not included as evidence in the Ingham County trial.

December 2017

MSU's Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, William D. Strampel, stepped down from his position for medical leave on Dec. 14, 2017. He was accused of failing “to report sexual abuse about which they knew or should have known." 

January 2018

According to a report from the New York Times Jan. 23, 2018, the NCAA opened an investigation into MSU. On Jan. 24, 2018, Nassar was sentenced to a maximum of 175 years in prison, a sentence of 40 years on each of his seven charges in Ingham County. The total number of survivors was 156. The same day, former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon officially resigned.

On Jan. 26, 2018, former MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced his retirement. 

February 2018

On Feb. 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education released a press statement announcing it will launch a new Title IX directed investigation into MSU's handling of sexual assault reports against Nassar with the Federal Student Aid office at MSU. At the time, MSU was under investigation by the NCAA, Michigan Attorney General's Office, U.S. Congress, and the Michigan legislature. 

March 2018

Strampel was arrested on March 26, 2018, for one charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct — a high court misdemeanor which could carry up to two years in prison — and a felony count of misconduct in office and two misdemeanors willful neglect of duty as a public officer. In 2016, Strampel stated he did not believe individuals who accused Nassar of sexual assault and did not want to fire Nassar. 

July 2018

20180622bot2

Strampel retired amid his criminal case. A retirement agreement was signed July 5, 2018, and halted the tenure revocation process sought by MSU Interim President John Engler. While facing charges, Strampel collected a $217,903 annual salary. Under the retirement agreement, he would receive a final payment of $175,000 along with basic retiree healthcare coverage. Strampel was barred from receiving emeritus status. 

August 2018

Klages was charged with two counts of lying to a peace officer during the course of the investigation into Nassar on August 23, 2018. Klages was charged with a felony and a misdemeanor.

September 2018

According to a press release from Sept. 5, 2018, more than 100 new victims of Nassar's sexual abuse came forward. 

On Sept. 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice began investigations into the FBI's response and handling of the sexual abuse allegations against Nassar. The Department of Justice launched this investigation because of allegations that the FBI failed to act on the complaints when they came from gymnasts on the U.S. national team in 2015. An FBI investigation into Nassar did not begin until the following year. 

October 2018

Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny was arrested on Oct. 18, 2018, on a warrant for tampering with evidence in an investigation into Nassar’s possible sexual misconduct at a gymnastics camp. He allegedly ordered the removal of documents from the camp, a third-degree felony. 

November 2018

Simon was charged on Nov. 20, 2018, with lying to police as part of an ongoing investigation into MSU's handling of Nassar. She was charged 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. 

December 2018

65b01572-4054-47d5-a308-a1a22d7d511f-sized-1000x1000

According to an email obtained by The State News on Dec. 4, 2018, the Healing and Assistance Fund would be discontinued. Survivors of Nassar's sexual abuse would receive all future payments from the $500 million settlement, not the fund. MSU began paying survivors the same day

On Dec. 21, 2018, Special Prosecutor William Forsyth said MSU redacted and withheld documents, made false public statements, and was primarily concerned with its image and reputation. Forsyth said MSU handed over irrelevant documents, and the university redacted or didn’t release documents because of claims of attorney-client privilege. The Attorney General’s Office said their investigation found that 11 MSU employees were told about Nassar’s abuse. 

2019

On April 12, 2019, Strampel was charged with an additional count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Five photographs were admitted in support of allegations that Strampel propositioned female students for nude photographs in return for allowing them to graduate.

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. was hired in May 2019, following Engler’s resignation. Stanley began his duties on Aug. 1 2019.

Strampel was convicted on June 12, 2019, of misconduct in office and of two counts of willful neglect of duty. He was found not guilty of charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In the 19-page agreement with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), MSU agreed to revise non-discrimination and sexual misconduct policies to clarify Title IX’s and Section 1557’s prohibitions on sex discrimination. The university agreed to improve investigative and complaint resolution processes and to appoint an official to coordinate the complaint responses. It includes a chaperone policy. MSU must provide bi-annual reports to the OCR during the three-year term of their agreement. 

MSU filed a motion to dismiss lawsuits from over 100 survivors of Nassar’s abuse. The university claimed they had no legal responsibility to the women, according to The Detroit Free Press. 

The Office of Civil Rights determined MSU violated Title IX regulations by failing to respond to reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault by Nassar and Strampel on Sept. 5, 2019. MSU would pay a $4.5 million fine for their reporting failures.

2020

klages-2020-3

Kathie Klages was found guilty of two counts of lying to police on Feb. 14, 2020 in Veterans Memorial Courthouse. Simon's charges were dismissed by an Eaton County Judge on May 13, 2020. The Attorney General's office filed a claim to appeal the dismissed charges on July 20, 2020.

On Sept. 1, 2020, 34 individuals who may have received notice of complaints regarding Nassar's sexual abuse and the misconduct of Strampel were cleared by MSU. According to the "Reports of Employee Review" MSU sent to the Department of Education, six former/current staff are being further investigated about their knowledge of Strampel's misconduct. 

The former/current employees that could have potentially known about complaints or concerns regarding Strampel that are being further investigated include Simon, Former Provost June Youatt, Former Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources Terry Curry, Former Associate Dean Kari Hortos, Former Assistant Professor and Associate Director Elizabeth Petsche, and Former Associate Chairperson, Radiology, Thomas Cooper. 

The report on Nassar states that two more former or current MSU employees are being further investigated as a part of the review, including. Gary Stollak and Strampel. 

This article is part of the 'We Can't Forget' print issue. Read the entire issue here. 

Discussion

Share and discuss “A timeline of Nassar's abuse, charges and Michigan State's response” on social media.