A special prosecutor will investigate Michigan State University “from the president’s office down” over how former MSU sports physician Larry Nassar could have sexually abused girls and young women for nearly 20 years without university action, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Saturday.
The investigation began last year, Schuette’s office said, but the scope and makeup of the probe wasn’t announced until Saturday.
“My department … will find out who knew what and when, who took action, who failed to take action, what did or did not happen, and what should have happened,” Schuette said.
“No individual and no department at Michigan State University is off limits.”
The investigation will be led by retired Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, assisted by the director of the Michigan State Police, Col. Kriste Etue, who said she will help determine whether crimes were committed.
Schuette’s announcement comes three days after Nassar — who also was a national gymnastics team doctor — was sentenced to decades in prison for sexually abusing girls and young women in his care.
Forsyth said his investigation will determine:
• How Nassar was allowed to abuse patients for nearly 20 years without being stopped
• Who at Michigan State was aware of his actions
• What Michigan State officials did when they were aware
“We’re going to put a bright light … at every corner of the university. This will be done right, period,” Schuette said.
MSU, USA Gymnastics under fire
More than 150 girls and women asserted during Nassar’s sentencing hearing this month that Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical care in his capacity as an MSU or USA Gymnastics physician over two decades.
Though Nassar is in prison, a fallout continues, with the NCAA saying it will look into whether the university violated any if its rules in the Nassar case.
Michigan State and USA Gymnastics are named as defendants in a number of civil lawsuits by more than 100 accusers, some of whom accuse the institutions of concealing or improperly dismissing allegations of abuse.
Two top MSU officials — Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon and Athletic Director Mark Hollis — said this week that they were stepping down.
The Detroit News recently reported that misconduct allegations against Nassar reached at least 14 MSU representatives in the two decades before his arrest.
The university received a Title IX complaint of sexual misconduct against Nassar in 2014, but the investigation concluded that Nassar’s conduct was not of a sexual nature and he was cleared of any Title IX violations, the Detroit News reported. Title IX is a federal law that protects people from sexual discrimination in education or other programs receiving federal aid.
Up to 175 years in prison for Nassar
A Michigan judge sentenced Nassar on Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County and admitted to using his trusted medical position to assault and molest girls under the guise of medical treatment.
He already had been sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges. He also has pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County, Michigan, for which he is due to be sentenced next week.
Nassar was a Michigan State sports physician from 1997 to 2016. USA Gymnastics counted Nassar as part of its medical staff or as national team doctor through several Olympic cycles.