Defense rests, Strampel elects not to testify

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The fate of former Michigan State University Dean William Strampel could be in the hands of a jury as early as Tuesday.

The defense rested after calling two witnesses Monday morning. Strampel elected not to testify in his own defense. The prosecution cannot use that decision against him, nor can the jury consider it in deliberations.

Strampel, the former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, faces five total counts in the case:

  • Misconduct in office
  • Second-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Fourth-degree CSC
  • Two counts of willful neglect of duty

Monday’s proceedings began with Judge Joyce Draganchuk denying defense attorney John Dakmak’s Friday motion for a directed verdict of not guilty on the second-degree CSC and willfull neglect of duty charges. In making her ruling, Draganchuk said she felt there was enough evidence for a jury to reasonably convict Strampel on those charges.

>>Day six recap | Day four | Day three | Day two | Day one

The defense’s first witness was Dr. Carol Monson, an emeritus professor at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Much of Monson’s testimony centered around the process for students having academic difficulty. Monson sat on the Committee on Student Evaluation from 2013-17.

Monson said during that time, students were able to appeal the committee’s decisions to then-Dean Strampel. This was the instance where multiple women testified Strampel made inappropriate comments to them during meetings.

Dakmak also asked Monson about the events where two former students, Dr. Jessica Neuroth and Dr. Nicole Eastman, testified they were groped by Strampel. Both events, she testified, were quite crowded, with hundreds of people at them.

Both Monson and Dr. William Falls, the second witness to testify, stated they never had students come to them with concerns about Strampel’s behavior.

However, Falls, who recently retired as an associate dean in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, said he told investigators he sometimes took issue with the language Strampel used when dealing with appeals from students.

“Sexual comments or something like that,” Falls said when asked to elaborate on what comments he took issue with. “But he was mainly just very hard on the student, making them understand the reality of what they were facing.”

Falls also testified comments with sexual innuendo were made to both male and female students. He was asked if he ever spoke to Strampel about those comments being inappropriate.

“I did not talk to him directly about it. I know there were other members of the dean’s staff who were going to talk to him about it,” he said. “There was also evaluations, or surveys that were being done where we did make comments about that, his language, and how it could be detrimental to the college.”

Closing arguments are expected to take place Tuesday morning.

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