Michigan AG won’t appeal Nassar-related case against ex-MSU president Simon

Ed White
Associated Press

Detroit — State prosecutors said Monday they won’t appeal a decision that derailed charges against the former president of Michigan State University who was accused of lying to investigators about sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar.

Attorney General Dana Nessel expressed confidence about the case against Lou Anna Simon but nonetheless said she would not ask the Michigan Supreme Court to take a look, following losses in two courts.

Larry Nassar

“As the voice for survivors across the state, we always prioritize a victim-centered approach,” Nessel said in an evening statement. “To that end, we understand a long appellate process is not always the best way we can support survivors.”

In December, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel upheld a decision by an Eaton County judge to dismiss charges against Simon. One judge called the investigation into Simon following the Nassar scandal a "sham."

Nessel provided no evidence that Simon knew of the details of a complaint against the former doctor in 2014, the panel said.

A fiery concurrence was offered by Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who rebuked Nessel's investigation, saying Simon's statements were "immaterial to the prosecution's sham investigation." 

"... Why did the attorney general get involved in a criminal investigation of MSU after Nassar had been sentenced and the civil litigation commenced?" Gleicher wrote of the investigation begun under Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette. 

"The historical background supports that the goal was to exact retribution for MSU’s failure to stop Nassar rather than to pursue justice for criminal wrongdoing. Dr. Simon was one of the scapegoats selected to justify that effort."

Simon told Michigan State Police in May 2018 that she knew an MSU sports medicine doctor was “under review,” but knew “nothing of substance” beyond that, police have testified. Prosecutors argued Simon was told at a 2014 meeting with then-Title IX coordinator Paulette Granberry-Russell that Nassar was the subject of a sexual assault complaint made by Amanda Thomashow in May of 2014.

“Not only am I haunted by what happened back in 2014 and horrified by how many people involved in the case were also convicted (or investigated) for sexual misconduct, but I am also now scarred by the trauma of having to testify in court and still not be believed,” Thomashow said in a statement released by Nessel’s office. “I had to read the notes of the woman that I reported my sexual assault to – on the stand – and answer questions about that sexual assault in front of strangers – just to be told it doesn’t actually matter, years later.

“But I know the truth, and it is no less true today than it ever was. I also now know the current system lacks viable avenues to healing, accountability, or justice – as we have seen time and time again, and we all deserve better.” 

Nassar, who was a campus sports doctor as well as a doctor for USA Gymnastics, is serving a decades-long prison sentence. Hundreds of women and girls, mostly gymnasts, said he molested them during visits for hip, back and leg injuries.

Detroit News staff contributed to this report.