GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan State University told the state’s attorney general that it intends to cooperate fully with requests for more information about the school’s internal investigation into its handling of serial sexual predator Larry Nassar.
Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon sent a letter to state attorney general Bill Schuette on Wednesday to say she has instructed the attorneys conducting that investigation to respond to his office’s request for help.
Schuette wrote to Simon on Monday to ask for the results of the report when it concludes.
“The university has been and remains ready, willing and able to fully cooperate with any inquiry by law enforcement authorities,” Simon wrote in the letter.
Nassar, 54, has admitted to using his power as a doctor at Michigan State and with USA Gymnastics for nearly two decades to sexually assault young women who came to him for medical care. Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in state court last month. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison Thursday on separate child pornography charges.
Ten months ago, Michigan State hired former U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald — now at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — to provide guidance on a factual review of Nassar’s conduct while he was an employee at the university. Schuette said information from that investigation was needed to continue determining whether any other people should be held accountable for allowing Nassar to prey on young women.
“The Fitzgerald findings will be critical to understanding the full picture of what, if any, responsibility other persons may have had regarding Mr. Nassar’s criminal conduct,” Schuette wrote in Monday’s letter. “… And, an analysis of the findings by law enforcement is needed to ensure justice for the victims of Mr. Nassar.”
Schuette originally said the attorney general’s office planned to investigate Nassar’s actions only when he announced charges against the former physician last February. Several of Nassar’s accusers have called for Michigan State to be more transparent about its review and for the attorney general’s office to further investigate Nassar’s alleged enablers.
Larissa Boyce was among several women who renewed calls for Michigan State to be held accountable Thursday after his federal prison sentence was handed down.
Boyce said that while participating in a youth gymnastics program on the MSU campus in 1997, she told Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages that Nassar had touched her inappropriately. Boyce said the coach told her she was misunderstanding a medical procedure and suggested she not speak any more about it.
“The disturbing truth is he could’ve been stopped over 20 years ago,” Boyce said. “… I was not protected. I was humiliated and brainwashed into believing I was the problem. The MSU coach fed me back to the wolf to continue to be devoured.”
More than 125 women have filed police reports alleging Nassar abused them. More than 140 have joined civil lawsuits that, in addition to Nassar, list Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and high-ranking officials from both institutions as defendants.
Boyce’s story is one of several in the civil lawsuits that allege Michigan State and other parties ignored warning signs and failed to follow mandatory reporting laws.
Jessica Smith, another of Nassar’s accusers who was in the Grand Rapids courtroom Thursday, said she doesn’t believe full justice will be served until those who failed to stop Nassar are held accountable.
“I was expecting to feel a little bit of comfort after these sentences knowing that justice is being done,” Smith said. “But we are not comforted. It’s not comforting that one person is in jail while many people who enable what happened are sitting untouched.”
Michigan State spokesman Jason Cody said the university “unequivocally denies” the accusation that it is covering up misconduct by administrators. He said the FBI and Michigan State University’s police department conducted a joint investigation earlier this year to determine whether any university employee other than Nassar engaged in criminal conduct and that the school has no reason to believe any criminal conduct was found.
“MSU has consistently promised if it were to find any employee knew of and acquiesced in Nassar’s misconduct, the university would immediately report it to law enforcement,” Cody said in November.
Cody said Fitzgerald responded to the attorney general’s request for more information on Wednesday. Representatives from the attorney general’s office did not respond immediately to questions about what information they were seeking or how they intended to use it going forward. It’s not clear if they will make that information available to the public when they receive it.
Nassar is currently scheduled to be sentenced for his state crimes starting Jan. 12.