ESPN: Culture of sex assault cover-ups at MSU

Michigan

UNDATED (WOOD) — The case of former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually abused his patients, has put a big dent in MSU’s reputation: Its president resigned, the athletic director announced his retirement and now reports by ESPN say sexual abuse cover-up at the university goes beyond gymnastics.

A Sunday ESPN E:60 special titled “Is Anyone Listening: Crisis at Michigan State” and subtitled “Spartan Secrets” revealed a culture of keeping sexual assault involving athletes under wraps, keeping victims quiet and athletes avoiding punishment.

The report highlights sexual assault cases involving MSU basketball and football players from 2010 and 2017. It includes an interview with Carolyn Schaner, who shared how she was treated when she reported an assault:

“You are a female coming in here accusing Michigan State basketball of this,” she recalled being told by a prosecutor.

>>ESPN: Nassar surrounded by adults who enabled his predatory behavior

The E:60 investigation also included an interview with a former MSU sexual assault counselor, Lauren Allswede, who left in 2015 after being frustrated because nothing was being done about sexual assault involving athletes.

“(Sexual assault involving athletes as the alleged assailant) would be handled in-house. Nothing was transparent. It was very insulated and people were discouraged from seeking resources outside of athletic department,” Allswede told ESPN. “I think the athletic department wanted to keep control over that information.”

>>ESPN: Michigan State secrets extend far beyond Larry Nassar case

Both head basketball coach Tom Izzo and head football Mark Dantonio held press conferences denying any wrongdoing and said they will comply with any investigations.

Former MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, who resigned last week in the wake of the Nassar scandal, provided 24 Hour News 8 with this statement via email:

“I am sorry that I have not returned requests for media comment or interviews. I know I have been criticized for not commenting, but I have wanted the focus to remain on the victims. It is with a heavy heart that I share the deep pain and agony for the victims that have so bravely come forth with their stories.  My role going forward, even though I have resigned as president of the university, will remain to do whatever I can, in full cooperation with the university legal team and in any investigations.”  

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