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Witness says she "turned her ears off" during meeting with Strampel

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Posted at 2:10 PM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 22:50:12-04

LANSING, Mich. — The third day of William Strampel's trail has wrapped up as witnesses continued to testify.

The first witness to testify Monday met with Strampel four times in total. (She wanted to remain anonymous.)

Her first meeting with Strampel follows a similar story to the other witnesses who have testified the past few days. She met with him initially to try and get back into MSU's College of Medicine after being dismissed due to a failed class. That meeting took place back in January of 2014.

The witness told the court that the first meeting lasted around 15 to 20 minutes. She said Strampel told her about students "stripping their way" through medical school.

When the witness met with Strampel for the second time, she asked him if she could retake her failed class, biochemistry, the next semester. This is when Strampel offered her a contract stating that she could retake the class as long as she didn't fail any other classes.

The witness said he then told her that this was an exception and that if she told anyone, he would tell people that they were having sex.

She told the court she didn't know if Strampel was being serious.

She said Strampel told her,

"I'm being serious. I'll ruin your reputation."

The witness told the court the whole situation was uncomfortable. She said Strampel was looking her up and down. She told the court she was prepared for it in a sense, "I wasn't completely surprised, but it kind of unnerved me that it was so blatant."

She also told the court that in this meeting Strampel asked her how many students in her class she thought might be virgins.

She said this meeting lasted around 20 to 30 minutes to which she signed the contract stating that she could continue studying in the college of medicine as long as she didn't fail any other courses. She told the court she did pass biochemistry after taking it a second time.

The witness told the court that she told her mom and a friend about that second meeting. She also said she went and talked to a counselor at MSU.

She said she didn't file any complaint against Strampel at that meeting because she felt she was being helped by him.

"The fact that he said he'd ruin my reputation and say we were having sex," the witness said, "I was not inclined to file the report."

She met with Strampel for a third time in April of 2015. She said this meeting lasted about 15 to 20 minutes.

She met with him this time because she violated her contract. She told the court she failed another course by one point. She said she felt she, "shouldn't be kicked out of med school."

The witness told the court she met with Strampel for a fourth time in May of 2015. She told the court this meeting was also "very uncomfortable," but she told the court she knew it would be.

She told the court she left her phone in her purse, but recorded the meeting.

The witness said Strampel asked her if she had a "plan B" and asked her if she was cut out for medical school.

She told the court he told her he owned her. She said Strampel told her, "if I asked you to come to my house, weed my garden, you would do that because I own you now. "

The witness said she didn't tell anyone until the police contacted her last year. She said she met with police twice and told them that she had the recording. She said she hasn't listened to the recording until she gave her phone to the police.

The recording of the fourth meeting was played for the court.

Although hard to hear, in the recording Strampel said, "I own you."

After the recording, defense had the floor to cross-examine the witness clarifying the details she told prosecutors.

She told the court her first meeting with Strampel was held in order to get her ready for her meeting with the committee after she failed her biochemistry class.

The witness also talked about her fourth meeting with Strampel, the one that was recorded and played in court. She told the court she was nervous because of the comments Strampel had made in their previous meetings.

After the meetings, the witness said she was given an option to file a complaint against Strampel, but confirmed that she chose not to because of the help she received from him.

The defense then asked her if Strampel had ever asked her for a personal favor such as grocery shopping, weeding the garden, etc, or a sexual favor and she told the court no.

In regards to Strampel saying he owned her, the witness said she felt that it was a "free-for-all," and that Strampel could, "do whatever he wanted, clearly something sexual in nature."

Testimony is done for the witness and the court is discussing an "evidentiary issue" at this time, followed by a recess.

Once court was back in session, two more witnesses were called to the stand.

The first witness was Strampel's Former Administrative Assistant Kimberly Lamacchia.

She told the court she worked as Strampel's administrative assistant for 18 years.

In regards to Strampel's work life, Lamacchia told the court that, "he didn't have much free time."

She said he had about 10 to 15 meetings a week with a couple of those being dedicated to students.

She described what the conference rooms where Strampel held his meetings looked like to the court.

Lamacchia recalled one time where Strampel asked her to sit in on a meeting because she said Strampel told her he felt uncomfortable. Otherwise, she said she rarely sat in on his meetings.

She was asked if any students ever told her about meetings that made them uncomfortable and she told the court no.

When asked about the reactions she saw from students coming out of meetings with Strampel, she confirmed to the court that she saw a variety of reactions.

The next witness to be called to the stand was Jessica Lynn Neuroth. Before starting her academic career at MSU, Neuroth worked as a nurse for 12 years.

Neuroth told the court she met with Strampel three times formally.

Her first meeting with him was regarding a time when she fell asleep during a biochemistry exam.

At the beginning of the meeting, Neuroth said Strampel motioned her to a chair, but told her not to sit yet, but to turn around twice. She said she thought this was, "very weird."

She said Strampel told her that she needed to dress sexier if she wanted to get ahead. She said Strampel also told her she needed to be submissive.

After hearing that from Strampel, she told the court, "I just kind of shut my brain down."

She told the court that falling asleep during the exam was never discussed in the meeting.

The second meeting Neuroth had with Strampel was a group meeting.

Neuroth said she got a note telling her to go to the meeting. She said to her understanding, she had to go to the meeting because she failed an endocrinology class.

She said that Strampel said he held their entire future in his hands and that he could do whatever he wanted.

Neuroth told the court she met with him a third time regarding issues that happened during her surgical rotation. She said she was "summoned" to his office.

She told the court she was slapped in the chest in the operating room and was told to leave at the beginning of a surgery she was scrubbed in on. She also told the court that a fellow medical student of hers was "poaching" on her weekend hours.

Before the third meeting, Neuroth told the court she was waiting on Strampel to finish up another meeting. She said she heard yelling. She said when they came out of the meeting, Strampel was bright red in the face.

She said the person Strampel was meeting with was another MSU College of Medicine student. She said she recognized the student and later told the court that the student was the one who was "poaching" her weekend hours, which are a requirement to pass rotation.

She said when she entered his office, she was asked again to turn around twice for him so that he could calm down before she sat down.

In this meeting Neuroth said she was told again that she needed to dress sexier and be submissive.

"I was shocked," Neuroth said.

Neuroth told the court that she "turned her ears off" in this meeting, and could not say at this time if anything was discussed about the issues with her rotation.

She told the court about an interaction that happened between her and Strampel outside of the three scheduled meeting she'd had with him. The incident happened in June of 2014 at a banquet where she was the recipient of a scholarship.

After the presentation, there was a photo opportunity with Strampel and the donor. She said that Strampel groped her left buttock while posing for the photo.

She said she didn't confront Strampel because he had told the students that he held their entire future in his hands.

She also recalled another time she had ran into Strampel and his wife on campus. She said Strampel was looking at her from her chest to her crotch. She told the court she asked him to look at her eyes and he told her, "eye candy is eye candy."

The defense asked her if she ever told his wife the any of the "uncomfortable" interactions she had with Strampel and she said she did not.

After clarifying more details that were discussed when answering prosecutors, defense asked Neuroth when she would file a lawsuit against MSU and Strampel. She first told them she was unsure and hasn't talked to a lawyer about it. Then, she changed her testimony and told the court that she has discussed it, but was still undecided.

After that, questioning for Neuroth finished and court was adjourned for the day. The trial will resume Tuesday.

William Strampel is accused of groping and sexually harassing students. Strampel is also accused of failing to make sure Nassar was following proper procedures during his tenure as MSU's Dean of Osteopathic Medicine.

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