Michigan State House Inquiry Says MSU Failed To Protect Its Students From Larry Nassar

Apr 6, 2018

Michigan State University Sign
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Lawmakers says there’s no doubt that Michigan State University failed to protect its students from Larry Nassar.  He’s the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted patients for years under the guise of treatment.

A state House inquiry into the school released its findings Thursday.

Lawmakers say Nassar was able to exploit multiple loopholes in MSU’s policies.  The House inquiry also found that the school botched an internal investigation into Nassar arising from a complaint about his “treatment” in 2014.

“We feel compelled to note MSU appears to defiantly and wrongfully maintain it did not mishandle this investigation,” a letter to the Speaker of the House summarizing the investigation states.  “It is incontrovertible that MSU arrived at the wrong conclusion in 2014 and failed to properly conduct its investigation, and MSU would do well to fully acknowledge that mistake.”

Now members of the inquiry say they plan to focus on writing legislation to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Representative Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township) is one of the leads of the investigation.  He says the next step is to hear testimony on current and soon-to-be introduced bills.

“Because we’re able to then continue to analyze what the best step forward would be,” he said.  “And obviously want to make sure we’re putting forward the best policy so this is prevented.”

Lawmakers came up with about three dozen recommendations.  Those include requiring an outside investigation when there are multiple Title IX complaints against an employee.  And requiring universities let a third-party make sure they’re following Title IX protocol.  

“I’m proud of the months of work and dialogue that resulted in the bipartisan proposals released today to address sexual assault in our state,” said Democratic Vice-Chair of the House Law and Justice Committee, Representative Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).

Current bills in the Legislature on the issue include expanding who is required to report suspicions of sexual assault and extending the amount of time some victims have to file a sexual assault complaint. 

Spokespeople for MSU could not be reached for comment.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org