Nassar’s ex-boss accused of sexual misconduct at MSU

Mark Hicks, Kim Kozlowski, and Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Larry Nassar’s former boss is facing accusations he used his own office to harass, discriminate, demean, proposition and sexually assault female students at Michigan State University.


District Judge Richard Ball on Tuesday morning authorized a criminal complaint and warrant against William Strampel on four charges, including misconduct by a public official, a five-year felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Strampel,  former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU who took medical leave in December, is also charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual misconduct, a high court misdemeanor, and two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty.

Michigan State Police Lt. Ryan Pennell outlined the case against Strampel in a court affidavit, which included accusations again Strampel by four women. Investigators said they also discovered pornographic videos on Strampel's work computer at MSU and a video of Nassar performing his "treatment" on a young female patient.

One of the women alleges that Strampel approached her from behind and grabbed her butt during a College of Osteopathic Medicine annual ball in 2010 at the Henry Hotel in Dearborn. Earlier in her career, she said, Strampel suggested it was good when women got drunk because then it was easy to have sex with them.

The woman told investigators she “was not surprised Nassar had been able to victimize so many women under the supervision of Strampel.”

Strampel’s attorney, John Dakmak of the Clark Hill law firm, declined immediate comment on the case or charges against his client.

“We don’t know what’s going on completely yet,” Dakmak said Tuesday morning, indicating he would return to court for Strampel’s afternoon arraignment.

News of the arrest came a day before Special Prosecutor Bill Forsyth, who is leading the investigation into MSU’s handling of sexual assault complaints against Nassar, is to offer an update in the probe.

He is expected to be joined by officials from the Michigan State Police and state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office.

MSP referred requests for comment Monday night to the Attorney General’s Office. Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for Schuette, said she could not confirm nor deny the reports of arrest or charges.

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Although he said he was not aware of the arrest, an attorney for Nassar victims was heartened by news.

“Every survivor is gratified that Mr. Schuette and his prosecutors are obviously taking this seriously,” said John Manly, a California-based attorney who represents more than 100 women in civil suits against Nassar, MSU and other institutions. “That stands in great contrast to President Engler’s complaining about the AG’s office executing search warrants at Michigan State.”

MSU said in response to Strampel's arrest that it "has been and will continue to cooperate with any on-going investigations."

"One of the first actions Interim President John Engler did when taking office was to initiate internal processes to remove William Strampel from his position at the university and strip his tenure," said spokeswoman Emily Guerrant. "In a previous statement, Engler has said that Strampel did not act with the level of professionalism we expect from individuals who hold senior leadership positions, particularly in a position that involves student and patient safety.

"Allegations have arisen that question whether his personal conduct over a long period of time met MSU’s standards. We are sending an unmistakable message that we will remove employees who do not treat students, faculty, staff or anyone else in our community in an appropriate manner."

Last December, Strampel said he would take a leave of absence for medical reasons. He planned to remain a faculty member, according to the university. Last month, MSU interim President Engler submitted a request to the Office of Provost beginning the process to revoke Strampel’s tenure. He also announced that MSU will not cover any of Strampel’s legal expenses related to the Nassar sexual assault scandal.

Strampel has been named in lawsuits filed against MSU and Nassar, who was sentenced after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting girls and women during medical treatment.

Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison in Ingham County and another 40-125 years in Eaton County. He already was serving a 60-year federal sentence for possessing child pornography.

A Detroit News investigation found that Strampel was one of at least 14 staff members at MSU who received reports of sexual misconduct by Nassar in the two decades before the former sports doctor’s arrest.

Strampel told police last year that he never followed up after ordering Nassar to have a third person present during certain treatments.

In February, Schuette’s office executed search warrants at MSU after Forsyth had requested “the immediate production of physical items assigned” to Strampel.

Detroit News Staff Writer Francis X. Donnelly contributed.