Larry Nassar’s former boss at Michigan State University was arrested Monday, the day before a planned update by the Michigan Attorney General’s office of its ongoing investigation of the role others at the school may have played in the convicted child molester’s crimes.
William Strampel, 70, the former dean of Michigan State’s college of osteopathic medicine, was in Ingham County Jail on Monday evening, according to jail records. No criminal charges were listed. Strampel’s attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment Monday evening, and a call to Strampel’s home in nearby DeWitt, Michigan, was not returned. A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Strampel has been a focus of the investigation since it began in January, days after Nassar was sentenced to serve 40 to 175 years for seven sex crimes in Michigan. More than 250 girls and women have come forward in police complaints and lawsuits alleging abuse by Nassar, the former longtime Michigan State sports physician who treated local athletes at a campus clinic and also worked with America’s top female gymnasts as a volunteer for USA Gymnastics. Nassar’s accusers allege abuse as far back as the mid-1990s, often committed under the guise of medical treatment.
The timing of Strampel’s arrest, which came the same day the state Attorney General’s office publicly scheduled a news conference for Tuesday at noon for an update on the Nassar investigation, fueled speculation of a connection.
“Our clients are encouraged by the Attorney General’s action today. 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,” John Manly, an attorney representing more than 150 Nassar accusers, said in a statement Monday evening.
In May 2014, a 24-year-old Michigan State graduate contacted authorities after she visited Nassar for hip pain and, she alleged, he sexually assaulted her, massaging her breast and vaginal area while clearly aroused. A campus Title IX investigation concluded the woman misinterpreted medical treatment, and a Michigan State police investigation ended when local prosecutors declined to press charges.
In July 2014, after the Title IX investigation had ended, Nassar and Strampel met and agreed on a set of new rules Strampel later documented in an email he sent July 30, records show. Strampel required Nassar to always have another person in the room whenever performing a treatment “close to a sensitive area,” and also asked Nassar to modify “the procedure which caused the patient emotional distress because of her interpretation” to ensure “little to no skin to skin contact when in these regions.”
“I am happy this has resolved … and I am happy to have you back in full practice,” Strampel wrote.
Nassar continued to treat girls and women at Michigan State until August 2016, when another woman filed a complaint with Michigan State police, alleging similar abuse. That woman then contacted reporters with the Indianapolis Star, and the resulting story prompted dozens of girls, women and parents to contact authorities with similar complaints.
Before he sat down with reporters, Nassar exchanged emails with his boss.
“Good luck,” Strampel replied. “I am on your side.”
In March 2017, in an interview with a Michigan State police officer and an FBI agent re-examining the 2014 case, Strampel conceded he never followed up to ensure Nassar was adhering to the rules he put in place in July 2014.
“Strampel said because Dr. Nassar was ‘cleared of all charges’ and ‘exonerated,’ he did not see the need to follow-up,” an officer wrote.
In late January, agents with the state Attorney General’s office raided a Michigan State administrative building because records the office had requested related to Strampel had not been produced quickly enough, an Attorney General’s spokeswoman said.
In February, Michigan State announced it was firing Strampel, who had been on medical leave.
“William Strampel did not act with the level of professionalism we expect from individuals who hold senior leadership positions, particularly in a position that involves student and patient safety,” John Engler, Michigan State’s interim president, said last month in a statement. “This is just the first step in restoring trust in Michigan State.”
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