Michigan State University to Pay Record $4.5 Million Fine for Poor Handling of Larry Nassar Sexual Assault Scandal

FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo, Larry Nassar, a sports doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University appears in court in Lansing, Mich., where he pleaded guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault. USA Gymnastics has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, as it attempts to reach settlements in the dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits it faces and to forestall its potential demise at the hands of the U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Gymnastics faces 100 lawsuits representing 350 athletes in various courts across the country who blame the group for failing to supervise Larry Nassar, a team doctor accused of molesting them. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Michigan State University will pay a record $4.5 million fine for its poor handling of the Larry Nassar case, the federal education department announced Thursday.

“What happened at MSU was abhorrent. …. so was the university’s response to their crimes,” U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in announcing the findings, referring to Nassar and his boss, former osteopathic college Dean William Strampel.

In immediate fallout from the report, MSU Provost June Youatt resigned from the university, sources told the Free Press. Youatt, the No. 2 person at the university responsible for the academic side of the institution, was specifically called out in the report for failing to take action in the Strampel case.

This is the second time in less than five years that the federal government has found major violations of Title IX at MSU. In 2015, before Nassar was publicly known, the Office of Civil Rights said MSU did not act promptly to handle two reports of sexual assault. The office also found the university did not have proper procedures and policies in place to handle sexual assault reports, which created a sexually hostile environment on campus.

In addition, the school must hire an outside law firm to review all sex assault case decisions made by the school’s Title IX office and issue a report to the federal government. MSU’s board and president must also receive a regular report of all cases and decisions.

MSU also must conduct a sweeping investigation into who knew what and didn’t act on both the Nassar case and his boss, Strampel, who was recently convicted of criminal charges.

That includes former MSU President Lou Anna Simon, who is currently facing criminal charges of lying to police in the Nassar investigation; Provost Youatt, who knew for years of sexual harassment claims by Strampel and cleared him; along with the associate vice president for academic human resources, employees of the Office of the General Counsel, and the former head coach of the women’s gymnastics team.

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SOURCE: USA Today; Detroit Free Press, David Jesse