Michigan Atty. Gen. Bill Schuette lashed out at Michigan State University for allowing Larry Nassar to sexually abuse girls and women for years, and he took a shot at the school’s governing body.
“I don’t need advice from the board of trustees,” the aspiring governor said at a packed news conference Saturday about his investigation into the school’s handling of sexual assault claims against the disgraced doctor. “Frankly, they should be the last ones providing advice because of their conduct.”
Schuette said retired prosecutor William Forsyth, who has 40-plus years of experience, will work full time on the independent inquiry. Forsyth will lead a team that includes top investigators from the state attorney general’s office and the State Police.
“What’s got Michigan State in some trouble here is the sense that they withheld certain information,” Forsyth said. “Maybe because it was going to put them in a better light, but you simply can’t do that.”
Michigan State should establish a compensation fund that “will likely need hundreds of millions of dollars” for victims of Nassar’s abuse, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said Saturday. He also said university lawyers should be given instructions to drop attempts to fight lawsuits by the victims and instead move the lawsuits toward settlement.
The board last month authorized the creation of a $10-million fund to offer victims counseling and mental health services.
The comments from two top Michigan officials came days after Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young female athletes and amid growing public pressure to know what school officials knew and how they acted on abuse claims. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon resigned hours after Nassar was sentenced Wednesday and athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday morning.
The Lansing State Journal and the Detroit News reported Friday that Michigan State University didn’t share with a patient the full conclusions of a 2014 Title IX investigation into accusations of sexual assault she made against Nassar.
The patient, Amanda Thomashow, received an abbreviated version of the report, which found Nassar’s conduct wasn’t sexual in nature and therefore didn’t violate the school’s sexual harassment policy.
The school didn’t give Thomashow the rest of its findings, including that Nassar’s failure to explain the “invasive, sensitive procedures” he did and to obtain prior consent from patients was “opening the practice up to liability and is exposing patients to unnecessary trauma based on the possibility of perceived inappropriate sexual misconduct.”
A school spokesman said Thomashow was told the investigation had resulted in recommended policy changes at the sports medicine clinic where Nassar worked.
In addition to his duties at Michigan State, Nassar also worked for USA Gymnastics, which trains aspiring Olympians. The group’s entire board of directors is resigning under pressure from the United States Olympic Committee.
Several of the more than 150 victims who spoke at Nassar’s sentencing hearing were former athletes at the school, and many victims accused the university of mishandling past complaints about the doctor.