October 18, 2018
Uncategorized

William Strampel, former dean at Michigan State, arrested Monday

William Strampel, who served as the dean of Michigan State's osteopathic medical school for most of Nassar's time with the university, was listed as an inmate at Ingham County Jail on Monday night. No specific charges were posted Monday night, and a message left with a spokesman for the state police was not immediately returned.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney John C. Manly, who represents more than 150 survivors of Nassar's abuse, issued a statement Monday.

"Our clients are encouraged by the Attorney General's action today," Manly said in the statement. "It demonstrates that he is serious about investigating the systemic misconduct at MSU that led to the largest child sex abuse scandal in history and holding the responsible parties accountable."

ESPN has obtained copies of former university-conducted performance reviews for Strampel during his time as Michigan State's dean that contained several complaints about his habit of making inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature in professional settings. The reviews include surveys in which respondents paint a picture of Strampel as a capable fundraiser and decisive administrator, but someone who "rules with fear" and regularly interjected sexual innuendo and comments about the appearance of women into conversations with students and co-workers.

According to one respondent, Strampel's discussions about his own sexual history and inappropriate comments were "well known and bring down the respect and reputation of the Osteopathic college. I do not think this is a new issue, instead I think it is something that the College has chosen to ignore, for what reason I dare not imagine and cannot fathom."

Strampel was a focal point for the attorney general's ongoing investigation into whether any other individuals who worked at Michigan State should be held accountable for allowing Nassar to sexually abuse his patients for nearly two decades as a doctor on the university's campus. Strampel stepped down from his role as dean last December citing medical problems. The university took initial steps in February to have him fired, a process that can take several months or longer.

"Interim President John Engler has felt like this is someone who doesn't carry forth the values of the university going forward, and this conduct is not going to be tolerated," university spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Monday night.

Nassar pleaded guilty to state charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as federal child pornography charges. He admitted in court that he used his position as a prominent doctor at Michigan State and within the USA Gymnastics organization to abuse women who came to see him for injuries. Nassar is serving a 60-year sentence for his federal crimes and was sentenced to up to 175 years in state prison for the sexual assault crimes.

Strampel came to Michigan State in the late 1990s and was promoted to his position as dean in 2002. He told police last spring that he had little or no interaction with Nassar before 2014, when a recently graduated student lodged a complaint that Nassar touched her inappropriately during an appointment at the MSU Sports Medicine clinic.

That complaint, filed by Amanda Thomashow, led to an investigation into Nassar's conduct by university police and the school's Title IX department. Michigan State's Title IX office cleared Nassar of wrongdoing in the summer of 2014, telling Thomashow that she didn't understand the "nuanced difference" between sexual assault and a legitimate medical procedure. The panel of four experts that helped the office reach that conclusion included Nassar's colleagues and one woman described as his protégé and close friend.

Strampel told police that he believed the Title IX decision showed Nassar was "cleared of all charges," so he allowed him to resume seeing patients on Michigan State's campus in late July 2014. Nassar remained under police investigation for the same incident until December 2015. Several women say they were abused by Nassar during that time frame.

When he returned to the clinic in 2014, Nassar and Strampel agreed to a new set of guidelines to use when he was treating patients in sensitive areas. The guidelines included that Nassar should explain fully what he was doing before touching patients near their genitalia or other private areas, that he should avoid skin-to-skin contact whenever possible, and that a chaperone should be present during any such treatment.

Strampel told police he didn't think it was necessary to follow up to make sure Nassar was following the protocol, and he did not inform other employees at the clinic about the new rules. Strampel fired Nassar in September 2016 when he learned that Nassar had been ignoring those guidelines for two years. More than a dozen women and girls say they were abused during that time.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Strampel told a group of medical school students in 2016 that he did not believe the accusations against Nassar. In a written statement obtained by ESPN, one of the students present at that meeting said Strampel told the students — who were there to discuss a separate sexual assault issue concerning their classmates — that he did not want to fire Nassar, but felt he had no choice.

Several survivors of Nassar's abuse have criticized Strampel for what they say was a flippant and insensitive response to more accusations against Nassar in 2016. Less than a month before Nassar was fired, Rachael Denhollander filed a police report alleging that the former doctor abused her. She also spoke to reporters from the Indianapolis Star for a story that would make her the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault.

Nassar alerted Strampel that reporters wanted to speak with him about the story. Strampel wished him luck and in an email told him, "I am on your side." After the article was published, Strampel shared it with others at Michigan State, referring to Denhollander's claims as "the cherry on the cake of my day."

"Is this the right way to handle disclosures of abuse on MSU's campus?" Denhollander asked during an impact statement she delivered in court last month.

The attorney general's office requested Strampel's work cellphone, computer and calendars among other documents earlier this month, shortly after beginning its investigation of the university two months ago. Strampel is also a co-defendant in dozens of civil lawsuits related to Nassar's abuse. Strampel's attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but have previously declined requests for comment about his actions, saying that the firm does not comment on ongoing civil litigation.

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