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Breaking Down The Charges Against Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon

Katie Cook
In this January 2018 photo, former MSU President Lou Anna Simon (L) speaks with Nassar survivor Rachael Denhollander (R) following the disgraced sports doctor's sentencing.

UPDATE: Click here to see the affidavit from the case against Lou Anna Simon.


Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police. This makes her now the third person charged by the Attorney General’s Office as part of its investigation into MSU related to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar.


VEGA: This is WKAR, your NPR station for the capitol region. I’m Karel Vega. Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon has been charged today with lying to police, making her the third person charged by the attorney general’s office as part of its investigation of the university related to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. To learn about the latest developments in the Nassar case, I’m joined now by Capitol Correspondent Cheyna Roth. Cheyna, thanks for joining me.

ROTH: Thank you for having me.

VEGA: So, to start, what are these charges against Simon?

ROTH: Well, they all revolve around Simon allegedly lying to law enforcement, so this is during the course of an investigation that the attorney general’s office has been doing for quite a while now. If you’ll remember, there have been two other people that have been charged as a result of this investigation, including former MSU Dean William Strampel. And essentially what they are saying is that, while Simon was being interviewed in regard to this investigation, that she was not completely truthful, that she lied to law enforcement officers. Specifically, they asked her questions about this Title IX investigation that occurred in 2014. And they said that she said that she didn’t know specific details, such as that Nassar was the subject of this investigation and that she, while she told law enforcement officers this, law enforcement officials say that she did know the specifics about this investigation in 2014. So, she is being charged with two felonies and two high court misdemeanors.

VEGA: And what kind of jail or prison time might she be facing if she is convicted for those crimes?

ROTH: The felonies are four year felonies so she is looking at potentially four years in prison and then there are also multi-thousand dollar fines that go with each of these charges.

VEGA: So, Simon told a U.S. Senate subcommittee in June that nobody at MSU knew of Nassar’s criminal behavior before 2016. If this case proves that she knew in 2014, could that lead to federal charges related to giving false testimony?

ROTH: I mean, it’s possible. That is not something that happens a whole lot. Obviously, if this is something that she is eventually charged with, found guilty of, I guess that could be a possibility, but that’s like a completely different type of case. There would be an investigation that would have to be opened up into that and law enforcement officials would have to dig into that and really it would depend a lot on how this case goes and if they think that charges such as that would be able to stand up on their own.

VEGA: We are speaking with Capitol Correspondent Cheyna Roth about the latest developments in the Larry Nassar case’s Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon today has been charged with lying to police. Cheyna, can you give us a quick timeline of Simon’s involvement in the Larry Nassar scandal?

ROTH: Well, she was the president of Michigan State University for many years, I mean, dating back to about 2005. And really, what we don’t know a whole lot at this point, specifically about what she really did know or didn’t know about the Nassar case, those are all things that are going to have to come out throughout the course of these charges going through the court system. But we do know that she was the president for quite a while, while Nassar was sexually assaulting his patients at Michigan State University. And, according to the warrant, it says in 2014 that she knew about Nassar and different things that were going on with Nassar, specifically this investigation. So, it is a little bit unclear exactly how at this point exactly how much of an involvement that Simon had with Nassar, how much she knew or didn’t know. But it looks like that is something that will definitely be explored throughout the course of this court case. 

VEGA: Have you heard any reaction from survivors of Larry Nassar on this latest development?

ROTH: I did. I spoke with Morgan McCaul, who is a survivor of Nassar, and who during her statement in court at Nassar’s sentencing, who essentially called out MSU and said, “how could you allow this to happen?” And she said she felt that this was something of a long time coming and that she was speechless. She’s still trying to wrap her head around what all of this means, but is it a sort of validation for her and for other survivors that Simon has been charged.

VEGA: And as we saw with the case of Former MSU Osteopathic Dean William Strampel, what do you think is coming next for Simon?

ROTH: A lot of waiting. I mean that tends to be the case with these types of – with really any criminal case. I mean Strampel was charged months and months ago and you have these huge periods where everybody is scrambling and like oh my gosh, this thing happened. And then she is going to be arraigned, or at least she is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday. And then after that, we are just going to kind of wait around while the lawyers talk some things out. There will probably be some negotiations. She will have an arraignment at some point, and that will determine – that’s where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence against her to take this case to trial. But yeah, there is going to be some pretty big milestones, I guess you could all them, the arraignment, her preliminary exam, but in between all of that and then leading up to her trial, it’s going to be a lot of waiting around.

VEGA: We’ve been speaking with Capitol Correspondent Cheyna Roth about today’s development in the Larry Nassar Case as Former MSU President Lou Anna Simon has been charged with lying to police. Cheyna, thanks for joining me this afternoon.

ROTH: Thank you for having me.

VEGA: You’re listening to WKAR, your NPR station or the capitol region. I’m Karel Vega.


As managing editor, Karel Vega supervises news reporters and hosts of news programming, and is responsible for the planning and editing of WKAR's news content.
Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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