March 26, 2018
A former Michigan State University dean and superior to disgraced sports physician Larry Nassar has been arrested and held in the Ingham County Jail. No charges have yet been filed.
William Strampel reportedly faces multiple charges in connection to his alleged inaction in the response to sexual assault reports against the now-convicted Nassar, who worked at MSU for two decades.
Nassar is currently serving sentences of up to 175 years after more than 150 women and children from Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, and the Olympics stepped forward to accuse the doctor of sexual misconduct after he molested them under the guise of medical "exams."
In light of an investigation into Nassar's conduct in 2014, Strampel directed Nassar to have a third party present during patient exams involving "anything close to a sensitive area." But the former dean admitted to authorities last year that he never followed up on his own directive.
After an internal investigation, Strampel told authorities that he considered Nassar "exonerated." Further, Strampel expressed to Nassar in an email, "I am happy to have you back in full practice."
MSU administrators who refused to be named told The Wall Street Journal that Strampel never believed any of Nassar's accusers. They allege that he said in a meeting about another investigation, "Patients lie to get doctors in trouble. And we're seeing that right now in the news with this Nassar stuff. I don't think any of these women were actually assaulted by Larry, but Larry didn't learn a lesson and didn't have a chaperone in the room, so now they see an opening and they can take advantage of him."
The Michigan attorney general's office has stepped in to conduct the probe of Strampel, who is a tenured faculty member at MSU. In February, MSU president John Engler began measures to strip Strampel of his tenured status (which protects certain higher-education employees from firing), saying "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. Further, allegations have arisen that questions whether his personal conduct over a long period of time met MSU's standards."
Engler continued, adding "We are sending an unmistakable message today that we will remove employees who do not treat students, faculty, staff, or anyone else in our community in an appropriate manner."
Strampel was the head of the College of Osteopathic Medicine for years. The school now faces probes by the NCAA, the US Department of Education, and a tidal wave of lawsuits.