Pressure increasing on MSU to release 6,000 documents related to Nassar

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Pressure is mounting on Michigan State University to release the 6,000 documents it has withheld from the Michigan Attorney General's Office regarding the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

On Thursday, a group of 47 lawmakers sent a letter to the MSU Board of Trustees, urging them to release the documents "to help restore trust and faith in the University."

MSU has withheld the documents from the attorney general's investigation, saying that they fall under attorney-client privilege.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said last month she would close her office's investigation of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal if Michigan State University didn't release 6,000 documents related to the case.

"The relevance and materiality of the documents should be evaluated and determined by the impartial investigatory team that has gleaned a great deal of information through their interviews and investigatory work over the past three years," the letter says.

"Full transparency is essential to restoring public trust. We owe it to the survivors, families, students, faculty, employees, and the entire MSU community to have a full, transparent, and impartial investigation completed. You have the opportunity to ensure this happens."

MSU trustees could not be immediately reached Thursday for comment.

Nassar, the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor, was charged with 10 counts of sexual assault in Ingham and Eaton counties as prosecutors argued he assaulted young women and girls under the guise of medical care over more than two decades.

His crimes led to three prison sentences that will keep him incarcerated for the rest of his life. MSU subsequently reached an unprecedented $500 million settlement with more than 500 reported victims.

The MSU board in early 2018 asked the Michigan Attorney General's Office, then under the leadership of Bill Schuette, to conduct an investigation at the height of the scandal involving Nassar to determine if anyone at MSU enabled him.

University officials has turned over thousands of documents to the attorney general's office, which led to charges against three now-former MSU officials, including ex-university president Lou Anna Simon. The attorney general's office has asked MSU numerous times to release the remaining 6,000 documents.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced last month that she would close the investigation of MSU if the board does not release the documents by the April 16 trustees meeting.

East Lansing City Council also called on the university to immediately release the documents, and a petition urging MSU to give the records to Nessel's office has received more than 140 signatures.

"Michigan State University cannot bring justice to survivors and begin to rebuild its tarnished reputation as long as it stonewalls the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into those who enabled serial pedophile Larry Nassar to abuse hundreds of girls and women," says the petition, launched by Valerie Von Frank, the mother of Grace French, who identifies publicly as a survivor of Nassar.

Twitter: @kimberkoz