The university is now facing multiple investigations. What’s next?
Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who sexually abused dozens of girls and women, will likely die behind bars: “I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told him at his sentencing hearing last week.
But scrutiny of the institutions that employed Nassar has just begun.
Survivors and the public are calling for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics to account for their failures. They are demanding these institutions explain how a doctor accused of molesting more than 160 women and girls did not face real consequences for decades, and acknowledge how that silence enabled Nassar to become perhaps the worst known sexual predator in American sports history.
Michigan State University, in particular, is now facing intense scrutiny for neglecting to act on suspicions about Nassar dating back to the 1990s. The case is drawing unsettling parallels to the institutional breakdowns at Penn State revealed during the case of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of molesting young boys in 2012.
The fallout has already begun. Dozens of Nassar’s former patients are suing the university. MSU president Lou Anna Simon resigned last week, hours after Nassar’s sentencing. The MSU athletic director retired Friday. The Department of Education has opened a formal investigation into the university. So has the NCAA. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is embarking on a “full review” of the Nassar case.
Michigan State is now staring down a pile of lawsuits and numerous investigations. The financial consequences may be staggering, depending on what the investigations reveal.