News, Culture & Society

Larry Nassar’s ex-boss at MSU is charged for inappropriate behavior

A Michigan State University dean who oversaw a clinic that employed Larry Nassar knew about the gymnastics pedophile’s crimes, prosecutors have claimed as he appeared in court charged with sex offences.

Strampel, who until December was dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is charged with sexually propositioning female medical students and compiling nude student selfies on his work computer.

The 70-year-old was caught with the inappropriate photos on his laptop alongside a pornographic video of Nassar performing a so-called ‘treatment’ on a young female patients.

Strample knew about Olympics pedophile Nassar's (pictured in court on January 31) sex crimes, prosecutors allege

Strampel, who until December was dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, appeared in court via video link on Tuesday (left).

Special prosecutor Bill Forsyth asked for Stampel’s computer, cell phone and work calendar at the start of his investigation into how Nassar was able to get away with his crimes on the East Lansing Campus.

‘Before Michigan State was able to respond, … we received a credible tip with respect to Dean Strampel, which we felt to be time-sensitive,’ Forsyth told a news conference attended by the Detroit Free Press. 

‘In response to that, we issued a search warrant and took them.’

Alongside the pornographic video of Nassar, Forsyth’s team also found around 50 photos of female genitalia. 

An affidavit says Stampel solicited pornographic pictures from students ‘through threats and manipulation’ while he was dean of the college. 

Strampel is also accused of letting Nassar continue to treat patients unchecked by protocols that were supposedly put in place. 

This allowed Nassar to ‘commit a host of sexual assaults against new victims until, following news reports of additional allegations against Nassar, MSU finally terminated his employment over two years later,’ the complaint says.

Strampel announced his leave of absence as college dean — for medical reasons — in December.

Strampel, left, on monitor, appears during his video arraignment with Judge Richard D. Ball, left, on Tuesday,  in East Lansing

Strampel, left, on monitor, appears during his video arraignment with Judge Richard D. Ball, left, on Tuesday, in East Lansing

Strampel told police last year that he never followed up after ordering Nassar in 2014 to have a third person present when providing treatment to ‘anything close to a sensitive area,’ and that any skin-to-skin contact should be minimal and explained in detail.

Nassar was fired in 2016 for violating that rule. His dismissal came less than a month after former gymnast Rachael Denhollander filed a criminal complaint saying Nassar had sexually assaulted her with his hands while treating her for back pain years earlier.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography and is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison. 

Strampel, 70, was taken into custody in the Ingham County Jail in Michigan on Monday night

Strampel, 70, was taken into custody in the Ingham County Jail in Michigan on Monday night

Strampel told a campus detective and FBI agent in 2017 that he did not check to see if Nassar was following the guidance because Nassar had been ‘exonerated’ in an investigation of a patient’s complaint and that the imposed guidelines were ‘health care 101.’ 

At least 12 reported assaults occurred after the probe ended, including many during which Nassar made ungloved skin-to-skin contact when no chaperone was present, according to a university police report.

The school has also come under scrutiny for not sharing the full conclusions of the Title IX investigation with Amanda Thomashow, the woman who complained. 

A simultaneous campus police probe of Nassar resulted in no charges being filed. 

And a teen’s 2004 complaint to Meridian Township police also led to no charges after Nassar offered an aggressive defense and insisted he was using a legitimate medical technique.

In February, interim Michigan State President John Engler announced plans to fire Strampel, who still has tenure that protects his employment as a faculty member.

More than 250 girls and women have sued Michigan State, Strampel and other current and former university officials, USA Gymnastics — where Nassar also worked — and others. Roughly 200 women gave statements in two courtrooms over 10 day of proceedings.

John Manly, a lawyer for many of the victims, said his clients were encouraged by the development.

‘It demonstrates that (Schuette) is serious about investigating the systemic misconduct at MSU that led to the largest child sex abuse scandal in history and holding the responsible parties accountable,’ he said.

A Michigan State spokeswoman said the university would continue cooperating with any investigations and pointed to Engler’s past statements.

‘William Strampel did not act with the level of professionalism we expect from individuals who hold senior leadership positions, particularly in a position that involves student and patient safety,’ Engler said last month.