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Michigan State Needs To Answer For Larry Nassar

The Larry Nassar trial has come to a close. 156 victims made impact statements. Now it’s time for those who enabled Nassar to answer for their actions.

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I wrote about Larry Nassar all the way back in April of last year, asking why his case wasn’t getting much media attention.

That has changed now, as the story of Nassar’s trial has made headlines across the nation. It’s hard to deny a story when 156 victims deliver impact statements, those victims including such high profile gymnasts as Simon Biles, Aly Raisman, and Kayla Maroney, who was paid hush money originally to stay quiet about Nassar’s abuse.

Yesterday Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, the judge who made sure that Nassar faced his victims, sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison. Nassar had already been sentenced to serve 60 years in prison for possession of child pornography.

Larry Nassar is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, as he should.

Unfortunately, when you read more about this case, and look at all the organizations involved in this case you are left with the impression that this is Penn State and Jerry Sandusky all over again. Victims, mostly children, were abused at the hands of a person whom other people enabled. Those other people were members of prominent organizations - Michigan State University, U.S. Olympics, and USA Gymnastics among them.

When you read the timeline of the events surrounding Nassar you cannot help but be shocked that someone, anyone along the way might have stepped up and stopped the man from doing what he was doing. Why they did not.. I’m sure we’re going to start hearing even more excuses than we already have.

Michigan State University has been incredibly dense about this entire incident. Tuesday, Michigan State board trustee Joel Ferguson was dismissive of the Nassar events, stating that “There’s so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing,” when asked about a meeting to decide the fate of Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon.

Yesterday things started coming apart as Michigan State’s Faculty Athletic Representative resigned:

The Michigan state House of Representatives passed a resolution 96-11 calling on Simon to resign, stating:

“The lack of leadership and accountability among MSU’s highest ranks allowed a predator to continue to abuse, and victims to suffer in silence, for far too long,” the resolution reads. “As university president, Lou Anna K. Simon must ultimately take responsibility for her actions, or lack thereof, and the university culture that allowed this to happen. Michigan State University, one of our state’s flagship public universities, and our state deserve better from its leaders.”

From the same article, one representative, Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt Township, stated he believes the entire MSU board of trustees need to resign.

”I do believe the board of trustees needs to resign. I’ve never seen a situation that’s been this mishandled,” he said. “These trustees care more about their skyboxes in the fall than these 150 victims. And that’s absolutely reprehensible.”

A MSU trustee called upon President Simon to resign:

And yesterday evening, Simon finally resigned.

Here’s her resignation letter:

Note the paragraph beginning, “As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger.”

Does this sound like a person who’s sorry for what’s transpired under her watch? Does this sound like a person who’s taking responsibility for any part she might have played in this entire mess?

No. This sounds like a person who sees herself as a victim when she is not. It is becoming apparent she was part of a chain of command that was entirely willing to look the other way while Nassar molested children.

All it would have taken was for one person in the right position to have said or done something to put an end to Nassar’s crimes. That could have been Michigan State’s gymnastics coach Kathie Klages who was informed of abuse all the way back in 1997. It could have happened during MSU’s sham Title IX investigation. It could have been one of MSU’s trainers, who were also informed of abuse but did nothing.

News: Larry Nassar Sentencing Hearing Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETWORK

This story didn’t blow up in the media until a judge made sure that Nassar’s victims were able to confront him in court. 156 of them! Now that the light has shown so brightly it’s time to discover who enabled Nassar and either bring their careers to an end, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, and/or sue them into oblivion.

In the past couple days the NCAA has announced that they will investigate Michigan State. If you’re thinking the Spartans deserve the “death penalty”, please don’t. Please realize that the NCAA’s investigative powers are a joke and this is nothing more than a token attempt to appear as if they’re doing something.

At the least, Michigan State’s entire board should take the initiative and resign. It would send a sign that they understand they have a problem. I doubt that will happen. Instead, we’ll probably hear more stupid remarks from trustee Joel Ferguson. Why it is so difficult for people in positions of power to do the right thing will remain a mystery.

Perhaps some of Nassar’s enablers will get their day in court. Perhaps they too, will have to do what Nassar did - come face to face with his victims while a bright, bright light shines on them.

News: Larry Nassar Sentencing Hearing Lansing State Journal-USA TODAY NETWORK


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Nassar Case

Out of Balance: An IndyStar investigation into USA Gymnastic
In March 2016, IndyStar began investigating USA Gymnastics – one of America’s most prominent youth sports organizations, and the governing body for the U.S. Olympic team. The investigation revealed that USA Gymnastics has followed a policy of not reporting all sexual abuse allegations against its coaches. That practice has enabled coaches to continuing preying on children despite repeated warning signs. IndyStar also has revealed a culture within the gymnastics community that has allowed coaches to shift from gym to gym, again despite warnings of inappropriate behavior.

Larry Nassar denied sexually abusing gymnasts in IndyStar interview
As I gathered my notebook and recorder, it was clear the lawsuit rattled Nassar. His eyes were watery, and he was trembling as I shook his hand and said goodbye. My last memory of the encounter was Nassar pleading for me to be fair and to consider the harm a story could do to his reputation and family.

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The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: "I just signed your death warrant."

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