MSU president releases statement regarding Nassar investigation

Posted at 6:57 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 19:10:49-05

Lou Anna K. Simon has released a statement regarding the investigation into former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar.

Nassar is accused of sexually abusing dozens of patients during medical treatments. He was formerly associated with USA Gymnastics and had a clinic at MSU.

Read the full statement below.

Dear MSU community member:

You may have read media stories or comments related to former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, the sexual assault allegations against him, and his work at MSU and other organizations. You will undoubtedly see more. This situation is still unfolding as allegations continue to emerge regarding Nasser’s criminal and repugnant behavior. I want to recognize the courage it takes for individuals to come forward with details of personally traumatic events and assure you we are looking into every aspect of this situation with integrity and diligence.

After taking a report of alleged sexual assault against Nassar on Aug. 29, MSU Police Department detectives immediately began an investigation and notified our administration. Since then, many additional complaints have been reported.

Our top priority continues to be ensuring justice is served. The MSU Police Department is dedicating significant resources to this investigation and is coordinating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the state Attorney General. We are fully cooperating with every aspect of the ongoing criminal investigations and have urged all members of the MSU community to do so as well.

As part of this commitment, we have to be respectful of the investigative process, respectful of the judicial process, and respectful of the victims involved. Therefore, our ability to comment will often be limited regardless of the nature of public reports or whether they contain conflicting or confusing information.

While the investigations continue, one fact appears clear. Based on the dozens of criminal complaints made against Nassar to MSU Police and the criminal charges brought against him by the Michigan Attorney General and federal U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nassar abused the trust of his patients and his professional responsibility as a physician.

MSU has taken a proactive approach to responding to this situation. Since complaints were made against Nassar in Aug. 2016, MSU:

1. Fired Nassar on Sept. 20, 2016.
2. Immediately launched an internal review of Nassar’s former work at the university, from his clinical work to his work with MSU Athletics.
3. Conducted a policy and protocol review within the MSU HealthTeam, and we have begun the process of strengthening, reinforcing, and centralizing policies and protocols, where necessary, regarding the role of chaperones, informed consent, and other areas of operations.

The internal review I called for includes interviewing individuals and reviewing materials involving Nasser’s work at the university. We have an external law firm advising us in that effort. I have made clear to those conducting the review that we will promptly take appropriate action in response to what we learn during the review. This tireless effort will continue as long as necessary.

I believe these are the prudent steps we should take at this stage in light of the allegations made against Nassar, and they complement our already strong commitment to patient and student safety, including Title IX compliance. I have confidence in the robustness of the reviews we have underway and our unceasing commitment to evaluate how we can be better tomorrow than we are today.

Finally, there should be absolutely no ambiguity that we have always expected and continue to expect every university employee to cooperate fully with any law enforcement investigation, as well as any internal reviews. Any interference with an investigation or review will not be tolerated.

I want to reinforce that sexual misconduct in any form is abhorrent, and no member of our community should be threatened by sexual violence. Any member of the MSU community, past or present, or any member of the public who may have information relevant to this ongoing investigation is encouraged to call MSUPD’s toll-free tip line at: 844-99-MSUPD.

Lou Anna K. Simon, PhD