Scrutiny of Michigan State's Role in Nassar Case Brings New Sex Charges – New York Times


Dr. Strampel — who stepped down in December from his job as dean, where he made more than $383,000 annually, according to MLive, a local news outlet — was charged with misconduct of a public official, a felony, and three misdemeanors, including fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of willful neglect of duty. Dr. Strampel was jailed on Monday, and appeared in court via video on Tuesday afternoon wearing a gray sweatshirt, his hands cuffed in front of him. A personal recognizance bond was set at $25,000, and Dr. Strampel was ordered not to contact current or former students, and not to leave the state.

John Dakmak, a lawyer for Dr. Strampel, said his client planned to fight the charges and denied all of the counts against him.

“My client denies that he ever engaged in any inappropriate touching of anyone, any student or otherwise,” Mr. Dakmak said. “He denies that there was any quid pro quo for sexual favors in exchange for any type of standing within the university or the medical school.”

The charges against Dr. Strampel come as prosecutors pursue a sprawling investigation of the university, which began after Dr. Nassar, a longtime physician for Michigan State and for U.S.A. Gymnastics, admitted sexually abusing young women and was sentenced to prison in hearings that drew international attention. Dozens of women, including Olympic gymnasts, described assaults committed under the guise of medical care. At least 265 people have said they were abused by Dr. Nassar.

Prosecutors said Dr. Strampel failed to take steps to protect patients from Dr. Nassar when allegations of abuse emerged. He neglected, the prosecutors said, to follow a set of protocols that would, for instance, have required Dr. Nassar to conduct exams only with other staff members present. “Despite his representation of his (and the college’s) intended response to the allegations against Nassar, Strampel did not actually enforce or monitor these protocols, nor did he alert other employees in the Sports Medicine Clinic about the existence of the protocols,” the charging documents said.

The police detective’s affidavit outlining the charges also described a series of disturbing interactions between Dr. Strampel and four female medical students, none of whom were named publicly. In several of the cases, the women said they had gone to meet with Dr. Strampel to discuss their academic work but that he had turned the conversation to other topics.

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Dr. William D. Strampel, the former dean of Michigan State’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, was charged with misconduct of a public official, a felony, and three misdemeanors.

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Michigan Attorney General’s Office, via Associated Press

One woman who said she had been summoned to Dr. Strampel’s office after falling asleep in class said that he told her to “turn around in a circle twice so that he could observe her body,” and that he said that she was “never going to make it in the profession if she did not dress sexier.” When she was later called to a dinner honoring scholarship recipients at a club on Michigan State’s golf course, she said Dr. Strampel reached around and gripped her buttock as they posed for photos, according to the affidavit.

Another student who had failed a medical school test said she was required to meet with Dr. Strampel, who asked her what her “Plan B” was since “she could not cut it in medical school.” The student said Dr. Strampel told her he would do her a favor by letting her take the exam again, but that she would then be required to do anything for him. “Given the context,” the affidavit said, the woman “understood that she was being asked to do anything he wanted sexually in exchange for the favor.”

The charging documents said Dr. Strampel also made graphic sexual comments, solicited nude photos from at least one student, and stored dozens of pornographic images and videos on a computer in his office, including many images that appeared to be of Michigan State students.

Rachael Denhollander, who said Dr. Nassar abused her, said Tuesday’s charges reflected a systemic failure at Michigan State.

“This is shocking but it’s not shocking,” Ms. Denhollander said. “Someone like Larry doesn’t get away with becoming the worst sexual abuser in history in plain sight if he were not surrounded by people who had no problem with his conduct and did not think it was a big deal.”

Michigan State’s interim president, John Engler, last month took steps to start the process of revoking Dr. Strampel’s tenure. University officials did not answer questions Tuesday about the status of the revocation, and did not respond to a request to interview Mr. Engler.

For years, university officials largely dismissed reports that Dr. Nassar had assaulted women, even though some women said they had reported abuse years ago to coaches, trainers or counselors.

On Tuesday, State Senator Margaret O’Brien, a Republican, said “this university needs to own up to what it did.”

“This won’t just go away,” Ms. O’Brien said. “They should know that by now.”

On the campus of Michigan State, students said they were unsettled by the arrest of Dr. Strampel, who came to the College of Osteopathic Medicine in the 1990s after a career that included stints in the surgeon general’s office and several hospitals.

The college enrolls more than 1,200 students and graduates about 300 physicians each year. Graduates earn a D.O. degree instead of the more common M.D., but are full-fledged doctors able to prescribe medication, perform surgeries and choose any specialty. Students also study the osteopathic techniques of manipulating the spine, muscles and bones to diagnose and treat patients.

Dr. Strampel, who could face up to nine years in prison if convicted of all charges, arrived at his home outside Lansing after his court appearance on Tuesday afternoon. A woman who came to the door declined to comment.

Aly Raisman, an Olympic gymnast who said Dr. Nassar abused her, wrote on Instagram that the charges against Dr. Strampel were “yet another painful example” of how so much had been mishandled.

“At this point, it’s clear that failing to investigate and understand how this abuse could go on for so long is just asking history to repeat itself,” said Ms. Raisman, who called for a broader investigation “that looks into everything, not just Nassar.”

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