Nassar victims upset Michigan State’s trustees drop probe

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Larry Nassar

FILE – In this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo, Larry Nassar, 54, appears in court for a plea hearing in Lansing, Mich. The government’s $4.5 million fine against Michigan State University in the Nassar sexual assault scandal is unprecedented. The U.S. Education Department has extraordinary leverage over schools that participate in federal student aid programs. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Victims of sports doctor Larry Nassar are urging Michigan State University’s new president to revive an investigation of how the school handled sexual assault complaints against the imprisoned sports doctor, after trustees decided to drop the plan.

The chairwoman of Michigan State’s governing board, Dianne Byrum, wondered Friday what more could be done, especially after federal investigators last week ordered a $4.5 million fine and many changes in how the university responds to campus crime allegations. Trustees in June had agreed to hire a Chicago law firm to conduct a probe and publicly release a report.

Rachel Denhollander and other victims are asking President Samuel Stanley Jr., who has been in the job since Aug. 1, to step in.

“If this board refuses to act because of the lack of moral conviction and personal integrity of a few trustees, then it is imperative that president Stanley use his executive authority to launch an internal investigation to morally do what is right to find out the truth,” the statement said.

There was no immediate comment Monday from Michigan State.

Nassar was sentenced to decades in prison for assault and child pornography crimes. The U.S. Education Department last week ordered the highest fine ever for violating a federal law, the Clery Act. Michigan State agreed to pay it as well as make sweeping changes in how it complies with the law, which requires schools to publicly report crime stats, fire data and other safety information.

Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, have been criticized for not stopping Nassar long before he was charged in 2016. Athletes say they complained about him as far back as the 1990s.

The school told the government that it would review the actions of current and former employees who were said to have received complaints about Nassar and his former boss, William Strampel, a medical school dean.

“We are united behind our new president and his efforts to fully comply with the requirements laid out in these recent federal investigations,” Byrum said in an email to Denhollander and others. “The university is committed to complying to the findings 100% and that is where we will focus our efforts in the coming months.”

Michigan State last year agreed to pay $500 million to hundreds of victims.

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