Saturday , January 16 2021

School accused of hampering sex scandal probe in US gym doctor Larry Nassar



Larry Nassar received long prison terms after pleading guilty to child pornography possession and sexual abuse charges.

AP

Larry Nassar received long prison terms after pleading guilty to child pornography possession and sexual abuse charges.

An independent special counsel on Friday (Saturday NZ time) accused Michigan State University of stonewalling his investigation into the school of handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar and called for "top-down cultural change" at the school.

Special counsel Bill Forsyth released a report that accuses the school of fighting the release of certain relevant documents and releasing others that heavily redacted or irrelevant. Hampered the investigation

"His biggest concern was the reputation of the University," Forsyth said at a news conference in Lansing that was live-streamed.

Special counsel Bill Forsyth, right, accused Michigan State University of hampering his investigation

AP

Special counsel Bill Forsyth, right, accused Michigan State University of hampering his investigation

"Just come out with what happened here," he said. "I believe they could disclose some of this violating lawyer-client privilege." School officials did not respond immediately

Hundreds of women and girls, most of them gymnasts, accused Nassar of molesting them under the guise that it was treated during his time in Michigan State and USA gymnastics, which trained Olympians.

A father of three victims of Larry Nassar was restrained after the disgraced doctor in court.

AP

A father of three victims of Larry Nassar was restrained after the disgraced doctor in court.

He has long been convicted for child pornography possession and sexual abuse charges.

Forsyth and his team of prosecutors and investigators have brought criminal charges against five people, including former Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon. She was charged last month. One of her attorneys has said the charges are baseless.

According to the report, a major piece of the investigation involved interviewing survivors. Of the 280 interviewed, 13 said they reported the abuse to an identified employee at or around the time it happened, it says

Michigan State softball, volleyball, and track and field athletes have said that they were a helpful coach and trainers about Nassar's inappropriate behavior. The school in May reached a US $ 500million (NZ $ 745m) settlement with 332 women and girls who said they were assaulted by Nassar.

A week before the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, allegations emerged that the US Olympic Committee security chief was alerted to Nassar's misconception a year ago the accusations were made public.

Forsyth was appointed by Michigan state Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate the school's handling of Nassar. The investigation is going on, though Forsyth said he has stepping down at the end of this month when his contract ends.

Schuette unsuccessfully ran for governor last month and is leaving his office to make way for incoming Democrat General Dana Nessel on January 1.

Nessel said in an emailed statement to the Lansing State Journal that she will carry on the investigation into what is called Michigan State's "callous disregard" for victims.

Investigators have said Nassar's crimes were mostly committed in Michigan at a campus clinic, area gyms and his Lansing-area home. Accusers also said he is a gymnastics-training ranch in Texas, where Nassar also faces charges, and at national and international competitions.

Nassar listening to his sentencing in court earlier this year.

AP

Nassar listening to his sentencing in court earlier this year.

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) fired chief of sport performance Alan Ashley this month after a independent investigation concluded that he or former CEO Scott Blackmun elevated concerns about the Nassar allegations when they were first reported.

The report of the United States Gymnastics, Steve Penny

Forsyth said his investigation has been limited to investigating the university: "Who knew what, when they knew it and what, if anything, they did it about it."

His report says the university has taken steps to improve its sexual misdemeanor procedures, but the repeat failures were made by people, not policies.

"Until there is a top-down cultural change at MSU, survivors and the public will be rightly sceptical of the effectiveness of any set of written policies," it concludes.


Source link