Ex-Michigan State President To Stand Trial; Trustee Quits

Oct 28, 2019

A judge on Monday ordered former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon to stand trial on charges that she lied to police about her knowledge of a sexual misconduct complaint against now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The ruling came the same day the school revealed that a trustee resigned Saturday over the governing board's decision last month to drop an independent review of Nassar's assaults, despite having unanimously voted for the probe in June.

Nancy Schlichting, in a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, said it became clear to her that four trustees do not share the commitment by Schlichting and three other trustees to an independent review, including the release of documents protected by attorney-client privilege.

"I deeply regret that my board service has been so short, but hope that the next appointed trustee will be able to make a greater impact than I have," she wrote.

Eaton County District Judge Julie Reincke, meanwhile, found probable cause to send Simon to trial on two felony and two misdemeanor charges of giving false statements to law enforcement agents who accused her of impeding their investigation into one of Nassar's sexual assaults and whether she or other university officials committed misconduct in office.

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment on behalf of Simon. She is the third former school official to be ordered to trial.

Authorities have said Simon knew in 2014 that Nassar had been accused of molesting a patient at a campus clinic. But Simon told police she knew only that a complaint had been filed against a sports doctor.

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

In September, a day before MSU Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dianne Byrum announced that the outside review was being scrapped, the federal government ordered the school to make sweeping changes and pay a $4.5 million fine for failing to adequately respond to complaints against Nassar.