GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators say a paper trail from a 2014 meeting is evidence ex-Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon lied to investigators about when she first learned Larry Nassar was under investigation at the university.
Simon faces four years in prison for statements she made in relation to the 2014 Title IX investigation sparked by Amanda Thomashow reporting Nassar for misconduct. She has maintained she only knew the investigation involved a sports medicine doctor — never a name. But an affidavit filed in Eaton County details why the Michigan Attorney General’s office alleges that’s false.
Court documents say Simon had a meeting with a senior adviser, Paulette Granberry Russell, in May 2014 to discuss the allegations against Nassar. Investigators uncovered a folder Russell had while meeting with Simon that day.
It was titled “President Simon, (SA Survey) 450 Admin” and an agenda item stated “COM Incident.” “COM” stands for College of Osteopathic Medicine, where Nassar worked.
Additionally, Russell made a handwritten note on the outside of the folder: “Sports Med, Dr. Nassar, SA”
The investigators’ conversation with Russell detailed in the affidavit state she made the note to herself because she knew the investigation was “problematic” for MSU given the U.S. Department of Education was investigating the university at the same time.
Simon’s agenda from the meeting was also uncovered. It listed “Sexual Assault Cases” and a note in her handwriting read, “COM,” but nothing explicitly stating Nassar.
Emails previously obtained by Target 8 did not uncover any correspondence alluding to Simon knowing Nassar was involved in the investigation.
Shortly after news broke that charges were filed against Simon, her attorneys called the allegations “baseless.” Efforts to reach her attorneys Wednesday afternoon were not immediately returned.
Michigan State confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday that Russell is still employed at the university. According to MSU’s website, she is an adviser and serves as director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The university had no further comment.
MSU said in a statement Tuesday Simon was taking a leave of absence without pay.
After the affidavit became public, Nassar survivor Rachael Denhollander responded in a tweet:
To be continually faced with the depth of betrayal is frustrating and heartbreaking. Just do the right thing. Just do the right thing. And this is why victims don’t report. Because years later, we still have to deal with it. https://t.co/5FUNsAk3UM— Rachael Denhollander (@R_Denhollander) November 21, 2018