House demands Nassar-related reports from MSU

The Detroit News

Two Michigan House leaders are demanding that Michigan State University officials hand over reports from 2014 to 2016 related to the sexual assault allegations against Larry Nassar and are willing to use subpoena power to get them, according to a letter sent Thursday to the university’s general counsel.

It comes as a public affairs consultant filed a lawsuit to try to force Gov. Rick Snyder to convene a formal inquiry into removing the MSU Board of Trustees for their handling of the Nassar sex abuse scandal. Snyder told The Detroit News on Wednesday that he doesn’t have the constitutional authority to remove MSU President Lou Anna Simon, who resigned later Wednesday, wanted other investigations into the university to be finished first.

Nassar, the MSU doctor and USA Gymnastics trainer, has been sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal possession of child pornography charges and 45 to 175 years on seven counts of first-degree sexual misconduct.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, and Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education Chairwoman Kim LaSata, R-St. Joseph, want all reports from the 2014 Title IX investigation into a complaint by Amanda Thomashow.

A Michigan State Police investigation the complaint and sent a report to the Ingham County prosecutor’s office, which decided against bringing charges against Nassar.

Among the requested reports are 2015 and 2016 university reports about allegations against Nassar, including the July 2015 MSU Police report.

The lawmakers also want university documents related to a Title IX investigation into a complaint by Rachel Denhollander. The March 2017 campus report concluded that Nassar sexually assaulted Denhollander in 2000 when he treated the then-teenage gymnast for back pain.

“Nassar’s victims continued to come forward in open court over six days to detail how they were violated and now it’s time for Michigan State to come clean,” Kesto said in a Thursday statement.

“MSU’s response to this case has been beyond disappointing, especially with the incredible responsibility they have to their students. We must see with our own eyes what failures may have taken place in order to come up with the policy solutions to prevent these heinous acts from ever happening again.”

The lawmakers want the reports by Feb. 9, including documents that were “initiated” but may not have been completed.

“One of our state’s flagship universities has failed to protect its students in the most basic way from sexual assault and it is incumbent upon us to find out why,” LaSata said in a statement. “We must demand more transparency and accountability from our institutions.”

In another development, Dennis Lennox is seeking the writ of mandamus in the Michigan Court of Claims for a Snyder inquiry, with his East Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank arguing Article 5, Section 10 of the state Constitution says the governor has a “duty” to inquire.

The last gubernatorial inquiry was in 2008, when Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm held an inquiry about scandal-plagued Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick that resulted in his resignation.