Interim President Engler allegedly asked Kaylee Lorincz, one of Nassar’s victims, to settle with the university in a private meeting.
Lorincz claims that, in a one-on-one meeting in late March, Engler offered her $250,000 to forgo a formal settlement hearing, one month before mediation proceedings between MSU and victims were scheduled to begin. “When I explained that it’s not about the money for me and that I just want to help,” Lorincz told the MSU board of trustees, “he said, ‘Well give me a number.’” Engler also allegedly told Lorincz that Rachel Denhollander, another Nassar victim, had suggested the $250,000 number, which Dollander denies. In May, MSU agreed to pay Nassar’s victims a lump sum of $50 million.
In the months following the trial, another MSU employee with ties to Nassar was accused of sexual crimes.
That employee was Strampel, who as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine served as Nassar’s supervisor. In March, Strampel was arrested on four charges, including criminal sexual conduct and willful neglect of duty. The sexual-misconduct charges respond to allegations that the former dean, who resigned in December 2017 citing “medical reasons,” used his position of authority to proposition and sexually assault young women, including by groping female students. A court affidavit also contends that Strampel stored nude student selfies on his MSU computer. And according to The Detroit News’s summary of a 2015 internal performance review of the dean that the newspaper obtained this past spring, evaluations from multiple female faculty and staff suggest he frequently made comments about women’s appearances, sometimes asking them to wear low-cut shirts to meetings, or otherwise leered at their breasts.
The criminal charges against Strampel were the result of a larger probe by the state attorney general into actions by university officials that may have enabled Nassar’s abuse. Strampel announced in July that he was formally retiring from MSU as part of a settlement with the university that included a payment of $175,000; he denied the criminal accusations when arraigned by video in March. Strampel is also named as a defendant in many of the civil suits filed Monday. The attorney representing the former dean in the criminal case did not respond to a request for comment.
A new lawsuit alleges that Nassar raped a student—and MSU covered it up—back in 1992.
Nassar has been accused of inappropriately touching more than 150 young women, but this latest lawsuit, filed on Monday, is the first accusation of rape. Nassar allegedly drugged Erika Davis before he raped her, and asked a cameraman to film the assault. Davis, a former MSU field-hockey player who was 17 years old when she first met Nassar, says she reported the rape to her coach, who then brought the allegation to other administrators. But Perles, who was then MSU’s athletic director, “intervened” and covered it up, the lawsuit alleges. According to the court documents, “Michigan State University could have prevented hundreds of young girls and women from being sexually assaulted by Defendant Nassar had they only acted appropriately, decently and lawfully in 1992.” At the time, Nassar was an osteopathic-medicine student at MSU working at the university’s sports-medicine clinic, according to the lawsuit and a timeline published earlier this year jointly by the Lansing State Journal and the IndyStar. If these new allegations are true, Nassar’s predatory sexual behavior began even before he graduated and was hired as a physician and assistant professor by the university.
The MSU campus remains bitterly divided by the Nassar case. As the board moves forward with selecting a new president, students, faculty, and staff worry that their feedback will once again be ignored. Whatever happens at MSU next, the university’s handling of the fallout following the Nassar scandal—and of the internal investigations leading up to it—offers a blueprint for the mistakes higher-education institutions can avoid when responding to sexual assault on their campuses.