Nassar Guilty Plea Prompts Calls for New Investigation of Michigan State Officials
After Larry Nassar’s guilty plea to three charges of child pornography, three alleged victims are calling for a renewed investigation of MSU officials.
Following former U.S.A. Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar’s guilty plea to three federal child pornography charges, three alleged victims have called for the renewal of an investigation into Michigan State University officials.
Nassar, who was also the director of sports medicine at Michigan State, has been accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls during his longstanding career.
The accusers include Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Ali Raisman, all of whom were members of the U.S.A. 2012 London Olympics gold-medal winning team.
The women calling for a new investigation into the university say the school could have prevented more than 100 women and girls from being abused by Nassar had they not ignored previous complaints dating all the way back to 1997, reports the Lansing State Journal.
The women and their attorneys also say the school mishandled a 2014 Title IX investigation which cleared Nassar of any wrongdoing.
One of the women calling for a renewed investigation, Rachael Denhollander, was the first to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault.
“MSU and its administrators could have prevented the Nassar scandal if they had simply followed Title IX and the mandatory reporting laws. They ignored complaints of his misconduct going back to 1997. When they finally conducted a Title IX investigation of Nassar in 2014, they botched it and allowed him to continue allegedly molesting dozens of women and girls for two more years, including Team U.S.A. gymnasts,” said a statement from Stephen Drew, one of the women’s lawyers.
Sexual Abuse Allegations Dating Back to 1997
Between 1997 and 2015, at least seven women or girls claim they voiced concerns regarding Nassar to university coaches, trainers, police or school officials. Nassar was investigated twice by police but was never charged.
In 1997, two women say they reported Nassar to MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages who they say discouraged them from filing a report.
In February, Klages retired one day after she was suspended for how she handled a team meeting regarding the Nassar allegations. She was the women’s gymnastics coach at MSU for 27 years.
Another woman claims from 1998 to 2000, she told three MSU trainers about Nassar but nothing was done.
The questionable 2014 Title IX investigation was launched by the university after a former athlete says a physical exam by Nassar turned into a sexual assault, according to Inside Higher Ed. MSU relied on three medical experts, one of whom Nassar recommended the university use for its investigation and was reportedly a close friend.
The expert recommended by Nassar, Dr. Brook Lemmen, resigned in March after talks of firing her for allegedly removing confidential treatment records from the school’s Sports Medicine Clinic as requested by Nassar.
Nassar was cleared of any wrongdoing and the university denies receiving allegations prior to 2014.
Lawyers representing Nassar’s victims have repeatedly asked Michigan State to release findings from its two investigations which have been conducted by two prominent law firms, Skadden Arps and Miller Canfield.
Michigan State says its investigations were meant to keep university leaders and legal authorities informed — they never intended to produce a report to be released to the public.