National News

Michigan State warned of 'inappropriate remarks' by Larry Nassar's boss in 2015

Posted May 2, 2018 11:30 a.m. EDT

— Michigan State University knew of allegations of "inappropriate remarks" made by Larry Nassar's one-time boss in 2015 but reinstated him as dean anyway during a review process, university Provost June Youatt said in a statement Wednesday.

William Strampel, the former dean of the university's College of Osteopathic Medicine, also used "uncouth and sometimes offensive language," and the matter was discussed with him before his reinstatement for another term, Youatt said.

"The concerns raised were taken seriously, and I specifically addressed these in the required post-review conversation," Youatt said in the statement. "At that point, no complaints had been filed with OIE (Office of Institutional Equity) or MSUPD (university police) regarding Strampel's behavior."

There was no immediate comment from Strampel's attorney.

Strampel, 70, was Nassar's boss before the disgraced former doctor for the Michigan State women's gymnastics team and the US women's Olympic gymnastics team pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct and child pornography. Nassar has been sentenced to three lengthy prison terms.

Strampel was charged in March with one felony count of misconduct in office and other charges after four female students accused him of using his power to sexually assault, harass and solicit nude photos of them, according to a criminal complaint.

Strampel also faces a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for his actions as dean from 2002 to 2018 and two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty related to his failure to oversee Nassar properly, according to court documents. He has pleaded not guilty.

The charges against the former dean came as part of Michigan special prosecutor William Forsyth's investigation into how Nassar was able to abuse more than 200 young girls and women over two decades.

Youatt said the "shocking and appalling" descriptions of Strampel's behavior came to light after the completion of his five-year review and more than a year before the allegations against Nassar.

"For all we have accomplished around student success, we have not yet created the kind of environment where our community feels safe and supported," she said in the statement.

"I am so appreciative of those who had the courage to come forward and so sorry that they not only experienced such abuse in the first place, but that they did not feel it was safe to talk about until recently."

During Nassar's sentencing, a number of women blamed Michigan State for dismissing their complaints against the former doctor and failing to stop him.

In February, Michigan State moved to revoke Strampel's tenure. He stepped down as dean in December, citing health problems.