Michigan State University fined $4.5 million in Nassar case

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2018, file photo, Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics and member of Michigan State's sports medicine staff, sits in court during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Mich. MSU is defending itself against a second wave of lawsuits related to Nassar but says it wants to reach a deal with the additional assault victims. MSU defended itself in a court filing Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. It says it's immune to liability for Nassar's crimes, no matter how "repugnant." (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The Education Department says it's fining Michigan State University a record $4.5 million for failing to respond appropriately to sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar, a former sports doctor at the school who also worked at USA Gymnastics

WASHINGTON — The Education Department is fining Michigan State University a record $4.5 million and demanding sweeping changes after determining that it failed to respond to sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar, a former sports doctor at the school who also worked at USA Gymnastics.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the penalty Thursday after the school settled with the department to resolve two investigations. DeVos said that Nassar's actions were "disgusting and unimaginable" but that so too was the university's response.

"Too many people in power knew about the behaviors and the complaints and yet the predators continued on the payroll and abused even more students," DeVos said in a call with reporters. "This must not happen again there or anywhere else."

The fine is the largest levied under the Clery Act , a federal law that requires colleges to collect data on campus crime and notify students of threats. The previous largest fine, $2.4 million, was imposed in 2016 against Pennsylvania State University over its handling of sexual misconduct involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The department's investigation concluded that Michigan State violated several key parts of the Clery Act along with Title IX, a federal law forbidding discrimination based on gender in education.

Michigan State did not immediately provide comment.

A department investigation found that Michigan State violated the Clery Act by failing to disclose crime statistics, failing to issue campus warnings about security threats and failing to establish a system to collect crime statistics. As a remedy, the school says it will hire a "Clery compliance officer" and create measures to protect athletes and children who participate in youth programs on campus.

A separate Title IX investigation found that Michigan State failed to respond to reports of sexual misconduct against Nassar and his supervisor William Strampel , failed to take interim measures to protect students while complaints against both men were pending, and failed to take steps to end any harassment and prevent it from recurring.

As part of its settlement agreement with the department, Michigan State says it will make "substantial" changes to its Title IX procedures and will provide a process to help victims of Nassar, including offering counseling services, grade changes, tuition reimbursement or the opportunity to retake classes at no cost.

The school is also being ordered to "consider appropriate sanctions" against current and former employees who failed to take action after being notified of sexual misconduct by Nassar and Strampel.

Kenneth Marcus, the department's assistant secretary for civil rights, said the agreement represents an "extensive and robust" resolution. Unlike most Title IX investigations, which are usually triggered by complaints submitted to the department, Marcus' office launched an investigation into Michigan State in 2018 based on the severity of the allegations, he said.

"This message should be heard loudly and clearly by all universities so that the tragedy at Michigan State University is not repeated elsewhere," Marcus said.

Nassar has been sentenced to decades in prison for sexually assaulting athletes, mostly female gymnasts, at Michigan State and a Lansing-area gymnastics club. Former Olympians said he also molested them in Texas and overseas while he worked for USA Gymnastics.

MSU last year agreed to a $500 million deal with Nassar's accusers. Most of the money, $425 million, was for 333 people, mostly women and girls, who had already sued. MSU so far has settled with 72 people in the second wave of litigation but dozens remain.

Strampel last month was sentenced to a year in jail for neglect of duty and misconduct in office. He was accused of failing to monitor Nassar and using his job as a medical school dean to sexually harass students.

___

Binkley reported from Boston. Ed White in Detroit contributed to this report.

Related News

Swedish prosecutors not ready to decide on...

Mar 15, 2017

US-ECUADOR-SWEDEN-ASSANGE:Swedish prosecutors not ready to decide on Assange, waiting on translation

Report says 1,100 complaints of child abuse made...

Mar 17, 2017

US-AUSTRALIA-ABUSE:Report says 1,100 complaints of child abuse made against Australia's Anglican...

In Duterte's Davao, China's vice premier...

Mar 17, 2017

US-PHILIPPINES-CHINA:In Duterte's Davao, China's vice premier prioritizes deals over disputes

Tokyo 2020 golf venue votes to admit women members

Mar 20, 2017

US-OLYMPICS-TOKYO-GOLF:Tokyo 2020 golf venue votes to admit women members

IOC welcome Tokyo 2020 golf venue u-turn on women...

Mar 21, 2017

US-OLYMPICS-TOKYO-GOLF:IOC welcome Tokyo 2020 golf venue u-turn on women members

Come down from pulpit to deal with sexual abuse,...

Mar 23, 2017

US-VATICAN-ABUSE:Come down from pulpit to deal with sexual abuse, Catholic leaders told

Sign up now!

About Us

Who doesn’t love gossip? E-Rumor Mill grinds the news and gossip to keep reader's well-entertained.

Contact us: sales[at]e-rumormill.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links

HomePress