Trustee calls for MSU’s general counsel to quit
Michigan State University Trustee Brian Mosallam is calling for the resignation of Bob Noto, the school’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel, in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.
The call comes after a second Title IX report emerged Friday, showing that a victim who filed the complaint in the 2014 investigation got a version of the report that hid details found in an investigation of the case.
Both reports cleared Nassar, but the unabridged report that recently surfaced and was marked confidential showed that Nassar was a liability to the university and “ is exposing patients to unnecessary trauma based on the possibility of perceived inappropriate sexual misconduct.”
“I call for the immediate resignation of Bob Noto followed by an independent review of the legal department’s handling of the Nassar matter,” Mosallam tweeted Monday. Noto could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.
Mosallam’s call comes after President Lou Anna Simon resigned the same day an Ingham County judge slapped Larry Nassar with a 40-175-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting young women under the guise of medical treatment.
MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis also stepped down on Friday, and pressure has been growing for MSU head football and basketball coaches Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo over an ESPN report about how sexual assault complaints were handled in the university athletic programs.
In the Nassar case, which spanned two decades and includes at least 200 women, a Detroit News investigation showed at least eight young women alerted MSU authorities over a 20-year period, with reports of misconduct reaching 14 officials.
Amanda Thomashow, then 24, filed the first official report in March 2014 after she saw Nassar for treatment for hip pain due to an old cheerleading injury. During the appointment, Thomashow said that Nassar touched her breasts and vaginal area for several minutes. But he countered it was for treatment for her shoulder and to adjust her pelvic bone.
Thomashow testified during Nassar’s sentencing hearing, along with 150 others who spoke about the impact Nassar’s abuse had on their lives.
Her sister, Jessica Thomashow, a gymnast, also testified that Nassar had abused her during treatments.
Neither could be immediately reached for comment Monday.
On Wednesday, a judge in Eaton County will give Nassar another sentence for criminal sexual conduct that he admitted to committing there.
At least 12 more survivors will either speak or have testimony read into the record, said Okemos-based attorney Mick Grewal, who represents 70 women in civil suits against Nassar, MSU and others. Friday and Monday have been scheduled if more time is needed, Grewal added.
In December, a federal judge sentenced Nassar to 60 years in prison for possessing 37,000 images of child pornography.
The fallout has prompted many to demand accountability from the institutions who employed Nassar, including USA Gymnastics.
Besides Mosallam, others who have demanded resignations and investigations include the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows, state Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, and U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township and Dianne Feinstein, D-California.
Over the weekend, state Attorney General Bill Schuette appointed Bill Forsyth, who was the Kent County prosecutor in western Michigan for 30 years, as the special investigator to look into what happened at MSU.
The Board of Trustees on Friday also called for a second investigation to examine the university’s failures that enabled Nassar to prey on so many young girls for decades.
MSU officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
“The Nassar case is a textbook demonstration of the social conditions that discourage disclosure of sexual abuse,” said Haley Halverson, vice president of advocacy and outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, in a statement calling for the resignation of all USAG board members.
“As researchers have reported, many victims hesitate to come forward due to fear of not being believed or being disregarded in favor of the perpetrators’ denial,” Halverson continued. “They fear being met with victim-blaming, ostracization, and being forced to leave the team. Many others fail to report due to a lack of evidence ... None of the individuals involved in perpetuating this monstrous case of sexual abuse, whether directly or indirectly, should be rewarded with a position of authority.”