Blog : Michigan

Former Boss of Larry Nassar, William Strampel, Charged

Larry Nassar’s former boss at Michigan State University used his power to sexually assault, harass, and solicit nude photos from female students, according to a criminal complaint.

William Strampel, the former dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been charged with one felony count of misconduct in office and a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for his own actions as dean from 2002 to 2018, according to court documents.

The 70-year-old also faces two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty related to his failure to properly oversee Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor who admitted to sexually abusing young girls for decades, court documents state.

The criminal complaint details statements from four female students who described disturbing instances of Strampel’s abuse of power as dean. According to the document, Strampel asked for nude photos and sexual favors, he groped women’s buttocks at official events, and demeaned the way they dressed.

The charges came as part of Michigan special prosecutor William Forsyth’s investigation into how Nassar, the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor, was able to abuse more than 200 young girls and women over more than two decades.

The complaint also states that Strampel improperly allowed Nassar to continue treating patients before a Title IX investigation into his sexual misconduct was complete. In addition, Strampel failed to enforce protocols set up to prevent future issues with Nassar, such as requiring him to wear gloves during examinations, the complaint states.
MSU moved in early February to revoke Strampel’s tenure. He stepped down from the dean position in December, citing health problems.

Access the full report here.


Michigan State’s Unclear Title IX Program

Misinformation has led to a disconnect at Michigan State university regarding key concepts of Their Title IX programs.

Recent Title IX reports conducted by Hush Blackwell have shown MSU is lagging to create strong awareness of campus sexual assault education and prevention. Many students at the university are uninformed of their rights and available resources if they are, or have been, sexually assaulted. mLive’s Brian McVicar writes:

“Michigan State has some work ahead of it,” said Julie Miceli, a partner at Husch Blackwell who focuses on higher education. “It has certainly made some improvements. The staff that are engaged in this work did not find any of our findings … to be of surprise.”

The report is Husch Blackwell’s second examination of MSU’s policies and programs surrounding Title IX, the federal gender anti-discrimination law that covers how educational institutions receiving federal funds must respond to reports of sexual assault.

It focused on the effectiveness of sexual assault education and prevention programs, support services and resources offered on campus, and outreach efforts tied to those programs. Researchers spoke with students, faculty and staff about their awareness and knowledge of the programs.

On Tuesday afternoon, Interim President John Engler told MSU’s Faculty Senate that he’s working to address the findings.

“We’re not only trying to fix resources that are necessary, because in some cases there are resources that aren’t there, but we’re also trying to fix how we communicate and educate and inform,” he said.

In its report, Husch Blackwell says that many participants in campus discussion groups were “unaware of, or misinformed about, key concepts relating to MSU’s Title IX program.” Student participants, for example, were familiar with the definition of sexual consent, but were “unaware of resources available to survivors of sexual misconduct and to those accused of sexual misconduct.”

At another point, the report says: “Overall, a majority of discussion group participants seem to be lacking even basic awareness about other Title IX-related support services and resources provided by MSU.”

Miceli, of Husch Blackwell, said perception and awareness of university programs is important.

“Their perception I think is actually very relevant to that question about effectiveness,” she said. ‘If they are unaware of the policy, if they are unaware of the expectations of the university with respect to their own conduct and the process by which policy violations could be looked at, the training in particular would not be effective.”

Engler said the university expects to make several changes “very quickly” based upon the Hush Blackwell report, though he did not detail specifics.

Read the full article here.

The Fierberg National Law Group and School Violence Law hope Michigan State University and other universities across the country are able to expedite the improvement of their Title IX programs and procedures.

Attorney: MSU’s Handling of Title IX Investigation in Nassar Case ‘Appalling’

Photo: The Athletic

A lawyer within Michigan State’s general counsel office is under fire for her role in the Larry Nassar case, particularly for the way she and the university handled a Title IX investigation.

According to court transcripts from last week’s scheduling conference in district court, attorney David Mittleman, whose firm represents more than 70 plaintiffs in the civil litigation pending against Michigan State, registered his dismay in the handling of the Title IX investigation following Amanda Thomashow’s complaint.

One experienced litigator with Title IX expertise, who is not involved in the case, raised doubts that the production of two separate reports in a Title IX investigation would satisfy the aforementioned requirements.

“That doesn’t strike me as equitable when you provide the victim and complainant with some information, but the school with other information,” attorney Monica Beck told The Athletic last week. “That strikes me as not being equitable.”

Read more on The Athletic.

Click here for more posts on Title IX.

School Violence Law Brings Title IX Lawsuit Against Byron Center Teacher for Student Sexual Assault

School Violence Law has brought Title IX lawsuit on behalf of a Byron Center High School student who was sexually abused by her teacher (subsequently convicted and sentenced to prison for more than a decade), then brutally harassed and retaliated against by students and school staff.

Fortunately, under Title IX, applicable state and federal laws provide remedies that may help her recovery and compel Byron Center Public Schools to implement changes necessary to protect other students.byron center, title ix lawsuit

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday, July 23, in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids alleges that school officials failed to protect the student, contact authorities and investigate after learning of suspicions that math teacher Glenn Davis’ actions toward the student were predatory.

This suit claims violation of Title IX, the federal legislation that prohibits gender discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. The lawsuit also claims a violation of the student’s constitutional rights, failure to report sexual abuse, a violation of the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, and negligence.

The lawsuit names Byron Center Public Schools, the board of education, high school Principal Scott Joseph and Assistant Principal Brady Lake.

Check out the article on MLive.


Chad Curtis sex case: Lakewood schools protected former ballplayer, not student-athletes, federal complaint says

Engaged to represent four high school girls who were sexually assaulted by former major league baseball player, Chad Curtis. This happened to some of the victims while he was purportedly giving them therapeutic massages for sports injuries at school. Curtis is currently in prison. Following the reporting of the assaults, our clients were brutally harassed and bullied at school. A Federal lawsuit alleging violations to Title IX and other legal principles is pending in Court, seeking to hold the school and its administrators responsible for, among other reasons, being deliberately indifferent and failing to prevent to their abuse.

Estate of Deceased College Student v. Numerous Defendants.

Represented the family of college student who died following an evening of hazing during initiation by the Knights of College Leadership at Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan). CBS 48 Hours portrayed this incident in a story dealing with fraternity hazing, initiations and drinking deaths.  The fraternity pledges were directed to play a drinking game involving the “wheel of torture.”  The Client lost consciousness, and was carried to an upstairs bedroom and left unattended, despite the fact that fraternity brothers knew that he was helpless and needed to be monitored.  The Client died of alcohol poisoning, and is survived by his parents, sister and nephew.  The family obtained a substantial financial settlement.