NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: MSU ignorance claim seems sketchy

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

It looks like Michigan State University got exactly what it paid for when it hired an outside investigator to examine whether any school officials were culpable in the molestation of at least 144 women and girls over a 20 year period.

Former Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told state Attorney General Bill Schuette in a letter that MSU Dr. Larry Nassar had “fooled everyone around him” in his serial molestation of female gymnasts and other athletes.

Schuette had asked MSU for the findings of Fitzgerald’s probe and was told no written report existed because no negligence involving school officials was found.

Pardon me for calling bullwhacky on that assertion.

First, if you pay for an investigation, it’s customary to get a written report, regardless of the findings. That is unless you are worried such a document would be subpoenaed in a lawsuit. MSU faces 144 suits in federal court charging it failed to protect Nassar’s victims.

And second, Fitzgerald’s claim to Schuette that Nassar’s abuse went completely under the radar screen is disingenuous.

At least seven girls or women say they brought their concerns about Nassar to either coaches, trainers, police or university officials between 1997 and 2015, according to a Lansing State Journal report. A number of former MSU gymnasts say they raised concerns with former coach Kathie Klages and were blown off. She was suspended last year and forced to retire.

Dr. William Strampel, then head of the MSU osteopathic program, sent a letter to Nassar demanding he change his treatment tactics.

These two MSU officials, at least, knew of the allegations. No truly independent investigative agency has bothered to even try to determine whether anyone else did.

The sketchy Fitzgerald letter hardly exonerates MSU. The unfolding court cases should provide better insight into whether the school was negligent.

If that testimony conflicts sharply with Fitzgerald’s stated findings, MSU would rightly have to defend a cover-up.

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