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Michigan House Finishes Nassar Investigation; Seeks More Changes

Larry Nassar photo
Katie Cook
WKAR file photo

Michigan lawmakers said Thursday that they will introduce more proposals stemming from the fallout of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that they say has highlighted failures by his former employer, Michigan State University.

House members, who announced that they finished their investigation into the Nassar case, say bipartisan legislation will be introduced in the coming days that will build on measures already passed by the state Senate. They say more changes are needed to protect other sexual abuse victims and "prevent such a tragedy from happening again."

"After reviewing the evidence, there is absolutely no doubt that Michigan State University failed to adequately protect students and patients on campus," Rep. Klint Kesto, Law and Justice Committee chairman, said in a statement. "That is a failure to every survivor of sexual assault. As the report outlines, we will be actively pursuing a broad range of legislative reforms to protect people across Michigan from sexual assault."

Nassar, a former sports doctor who also worked for USA Gymnastics, the Indiana-based organization responsible for training Olympians, was sentenced this year to decades in prison. He has admitted molesting women and girls with his ungloved hand under the guise of medical treatment.

The House members who investigated are recommending that the state place limits on any medical treatments that involve penetrating minors. One recommendation calls for the state to create a standard consent form for such treatment and include statements regarding the use of gloves and the presence of another health care professional.

Lawmakers also recommend giving the governor authority to remove officials from the State Board of Education and university governing bodies. And they want to make it a crime for someone to use a position of authority over another to prevent that person from reporting sex crimes.

"Though not all of us necessarily agree with each and every proposal, we all agree that a broad review of potential solutions is necessary to protect our children from predators like Larry Nassar and fix the problems revealed by his horrific crimes," lawmakers whose committees were asked to launch inquiries said in a letter to House Speaker Tom Leonard.

The announcement from lawmakers came the same day that a state disciplinary board permanently stripped Nassar of his medical license. The move is a formality that would keep him from practicing if he ever got out of prison. In addition to permanently revoking his license, the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery also fined Nassar $1 million, though it's doubtful he'd be able to pay it.

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