Ilitch Reports Raise Questions About Investigation Timeline In Nassar Case

Jan 9, 2019

Former Lansing tv reporter Alexandra Ilitch talked with WKAR's Reginald Hardwick about her reporting on documents related to the investigation of MSU doctor Larry Nassar.


HARDWICK: You're listening to current state from WKAR. If you were traveling during the holidays, you may have missed some significant news regarding the Larry Nassar sexual abuse investigation. Days before Christmas, a special prosecutor accused Michigan State University of stonewalling his investigation into the school's handling of the sexual abuse scandal. Bill Forsyth released a report that accuses MSU of fighting the release of certain relevant documents and releasing others that were heavily redacted or irrelevant. Alexandra Ilitch is a former TV reporter in the Lansing area and an MSU Grad. She received some other documents and tweeted out that information which caught the eye of many. First, we asked her to outline some of her reports that she shared online.

Alexandra Ilitch
Credit Twitter/AlexandraIlitch

ILITCH: 

When Michigan State University fired Larry Nassar in September of 2016 the university said it was because he failed to follow new guidelines put into place after he became the subject of a 2014 Title IX investigation. Nassar was required to follow those guidelines. According to MSU, after he and his boss, former Msu Dean William Strampel agreed to them before he returned his clinical duties. However, emails and handwritten notes from Amanda Thomashow’s 2014 Title IX investigation reveal Strampel wasn't the only one who was made aware of them. Handwritten notes from Kristine Moore, who was the Title IX investigator show that other individuals including Jeffrey Kovan and Terry Curry were also informed. Jeffrey Kovan is the team doctor for MSU basketball, soccer, track and softball teams. Terry Curry is the associate provost and associate vice president for academic human resources.

HARDWICK: 

Amanda Thomashow is an MSU graduate and the first sexual abuse survivor to file a Title IX complaint against Larry Nassar. Normally WKAR does not identify sexual abuse victims, but Thomashow has spoken publicly with the New York Times, CNN and other outlets about her assault.

Credit Twitter/AlexandraIlitch

ILITCH: 

Some of the documents I've obtained as part of that 2014 Title IX investigation show Moore's notes that she wrote while she was investigating, shows William Strampel wasn't the only one that knew about the policies, which is something that the university has said all along that William Strampel and Larry Nassar were the only one that were told about these new guidelines put into place. That came as a result of Thomashow’s 2014 title nine investigation and so as part of these guidelines, three new steps that Larry said he was going to take as a result of this, which included having a resident in the room when he was seeing a patient and performing the medical procedure that Thomashow said was a sexual assault.

HARDWICK:

And the reporter Alexandra Ilitch joins us in the studio. Now, why is this information significant that you shared online?

ILITCH:

So it's worth mentioning that William Strampel is facing charges related specifically to the fact that he knew about these policies. Now, there are a couple of charges that are unrelated to this, but among those charges is willful neglect of duty for the way he handled that situation. And so if there are more individuals that are copied on emails that were also made aware of this, these policies, but only Williams Strampel is being held accountable for them. You just wonder. I do understand, and I'm sure everyone understands that William Strampel was the boss of Larry Nassar, but these handwritten notes and other documents are saying that he isn't the only one that was responsible for making sure Larry knew about these policies, making sure that there was this understanding that he had to follow them. And so when you consider the fact that you know he's being charged for this and he's the only one, it just raises more questions than answers.

HARDWICK:

So we know the attorney general did release more information in December. Did you ask them why they did not include this new information in their report?

ILITCH: 

I did. And the response that I got from a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office was that the report released by the Attorney General's office right before Christmas was not a final report. She said that it was quote “entirely possible that additional information could come to light that could result in additional charges.” So then she also went on to say that the status update, which is what the Attorney General's office gave—is required to comply with ethics standards for open litigation. Also adding that there's information that cannot be disclosed. So I did ask about these handwritten notes simply because the attorney general's office referenced them in the Status Update, but the spokeswoman did not say whether this information could be the information that could possibly result in additional charges.

HARDWICK:

Has there been any sort of response from the university?

ILITCH: 

When I asked Michigan State University about this information, a spokeswoman reiterated the same statement that the university released on December 21st after the Attorney General's office released its status update and in a statement that MSU sent to me, it said the university is engaged in, and investing in an intense reform and cultural change effort to ensure that Michigan State is a safe campus for students, faculty, staff, and our community. Today's announcement, which was December 21st shows that the attorney general's office has found no criminal conduct beyond the formally charged. Even after reviewing more than a half million documents and interviewing 500 people, the university said they appreciate the Attorney General's office investigation and the hard work of all involved.

HARDWICK: 

So when people want to see these documents for themselves, where can they find them?

ILITCH:

If you go on my twitter, I posted a few pages with these notes included. Some of them are included in there with kind of a breakdown of some of the information that we are talking about which show some of the emails that Larry was sending to William Strampel and the Title IX investigator.

HARDWICK:

What is your twitter handle?

ILITCH:

It is @AlexandraIlitch

HARDWICK:

Before we let you go, when is the next hearing for former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.

ILITCH:

She is due back in the Eaton county courtroom later this month

HARDWICK:

And remind us what is she charged with?

ILITCH:

Lou Anna K. Simon is facing two felony and two misdemeanor counts of lying to police. The Attorney General's office has alleged that Simon lied to police when asked about whether she knew it was specifically Larry Nassar that was being investigated in 2014 they are saying that she said no, she did not know that it was Larry Nassar rather a university sports medicine doctor, but the Attorney General's office is saying that they have evidence that points otherwise.

HARDWICK:

Why are you so passionate about making sure the story has covered?

ILITCH:

People deserve to know the truth. When you look at this case, it's very complex. There are a lot of individuals who've been affected by it. I believe it's important to know and understand what may have gone wrong, and then be able to learn from it to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself.

HARDWICK:

And we've been speaking with reporter Alexandra Ilitch, about the Nassar case and MSU investigation. Thank you so much for coming in, in updating us.

ILITCH:

Thanks for having me.