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Investigation into Larry Nassar's abuse to end if MSU trustees don't release 6,000 documents

Posted at 10:20 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 22:20:05-05

MSU CAMPUS — A three-year investigation into Larry Nassar’s time at Michigan State University requested by the university’s Board of Trustees back in 2018 could be coming to an end without a conclusion if the board does not release thousands of documents related to the case.

“Our investigation and our effort into the investigation into msu which thus far has been successful and productive has now reached an impasse," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a press conference announcing the charges against Nassar’s longtime colleague, John Geddert. "Approximately 6,000 documents have yet to be reviewed by my investigatory team. Any one of those could prove a critical piece of information relevant to our investigation."

Nessel sent a letter to the Board of Trustees Thursday, once again, asking for the release of the documents and even took to Twitter saying if the documents are withheld the investigation will end without closure for survivors of Nassar’s abuse.

“It’s not something they can ignore or forget about," said Valerie Von Frank, whose daughter Grace French, was abused by Nassar. "These women live with this trauma every single day. And until we get a resolution, until MSU acknowledges the resolution that’s needed, there won’t be an end to this."

In a brief statement Thursday, MSU Board Chair Dianne Byrum said the board has received Nessel’s request and will discuss the matter “in the coming weeks.”

“MSU has said they’ll cooperate with this investigation but they haven’t. First, they said it was the litigation of the insurance companies holding them back but that’s not it anymore because those companies settled,” Von Frank said.

In November of 2019, MSU's Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling on the Board of Trustees to dissolve the “client-attorney privilege” that is keeping them from releasing the documents.

Brian Teppen, a member of the Facutly Senate and a professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, said those in support of the resolution still advocate for the release of the documents, but they don’t have the power to enforce such a decision.

“It’s to our own shame that we didn’t speak up more forcefully when the rumors came out about these events,” Teppen said.

Von frank is calling on MSU alumni and state government to amplify the call for the board cooperate with the investigation.

“I think it’s important that our politicians also get behind this. Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer, Sen. [Debbie] Stabenow, Sen. [Gary] Peters, and also my representative for District 8, [Elissa] Slotkin, to tell the MSU board that it’s time to tell the truth,” Von Frank said.

While the university declined to comment on the matter, faculty and student groups on campus have been circulating petitions calling on the board to cooperate with the investigation on social media.

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