Strampel attorney to judge: Order MSU to release documents
Lansing — The attorney for William Strampel will be in court Friday to seek documents from Michigan State University that he argues will prove that the former medical school dean is not guilty of misdemeanor charges stemming from the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.
John Dakmak filed a motion late last week seeking release of 135 documents in which the university redacted information or that it withheld entirely on the basis of attorney-client privilege.
At issue are communications Strampel allegedly had between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017, with the MSU General Counsel’s Office; Nassar; the MSU Office of Institutional Equality; Provost June Youatt; and ex MSU-president Lou Anna Simon.
Strampel, who was Nassar's boss, is charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in connection with his handling of allegations against the former sports doctor, who is serving a de facto life sentence for sexual assault and child pornography convictions.
Dakmak has obtained 10,800 documents, including emails from MSU, but is hoping to persuade Judge Joyce Draganchuk to order MSU to produce the requested documents or permit him to review them in her chambers. A hearing on the attorney's request is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday in Ingham County Circuit Court.
Reached Monday, Dakmak declined to comment, but he argued for release of the documents in a 24-page court filing.
"It is manifest injustice and cruel for a state government entity’s use of privilege claims to have the effect of turning Dr. Strampel into one of the scapegoats for the Nassar matter by denying him the ability to at least use his own relevant communications to disprove any claimed culpability,” Dakmak wrote the judge.
The MSU documents will show Strampel “lacked knowledge of any criminal wrongdoing, did not willfully neglect his duties, and establish a defense,” he wrote.
MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
In court documents, prosecutors say Strampel failed to monitor patient care requirements placed on Nassar, a longtime MSU doctor convicted of sexually assaulting patients under the guise of medical treatment.
The misdemeanor offenses are the least of Strampel’s legal problems. He also was charged last year with misconduct by a public official, a five-year felony, and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a high misdemeanor.
Last month, state Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge against Strampel and submitted evidence, including four photographs found on Strampel’s MSU work computer: selfies of scantily clad women wearing MSU apparel or insignia.
The attorney general also submitted a video from Strampel’s work computer that shows Nassar performing a “treatment” on a female patient without gloves.
Former special prosecutor William Forsyth filed the earlier charges against Strampel, alleging that the former medical school dean misused his power as a public official to demean, degrade, proposition, and assault female medical students for his own sexual gratification.
A trial date is set for May 28.
Nassar, a former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor, was ultimately accused of molesting at least 250 girls and young women and one young man over more than two decades, many of them gymnasts and Olympic athletes.
MSU has paid out a half-billion dollars in claims and attorney fees to settle lawsuits from Nassar’s victims.