Nassar-related case dismissed against ex-university chief

Michigan
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DETROIT (AP) — A judge dismissed criminal charges Wednesday against former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon arising from the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal.

Simon was ordered to trial last year on charges that she lied to police about her knowledge of a sexual misconduct complaint against Nassar, who was a campus doctor and now is serving decades in prison.

But Eaton County Judge John Maurer dismissed the case. The Michigan attorney general’s office, which prosecuted Simon, had no immediate comment.

>>PDF: Judge Maurer’s full opinion

The charges against Simon centered on a 2018 interview with investigators who wanted to know what officials at the East Lansing university knew about complaints about Nassar years earlier.

Authorities said Simon knew in 2014 that Nassar had been accused of molesting a patient at a campus clinic, and that she knew of the nature of the complaint.

But Simon insisted that she knew only that a complaint had been filed against a sports doctor.

“The prosecution did not provide evidence sufficient to give a reasonable person probable cause to believe that Dr. Simon knew during her 2018 interview that her purported knowledge in 2014 of Dr. Nassar’s name and the ‘nature’ and ‘substance’ of the complaint against him” were relevant to the 2018 investigation, the judge said.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office said it plans to appeal the circuit court’s decision.

Simon resigned as Michigan State president in January 2018, hours after Nassar was sentenced to prison following days of wrenching testimony from his victims.

Hundreds of women and girls, mostly gymnasts, said he molested them with his hands during visits for hip, back and leg injuries. Besides working at Michigan State, Nassar was team doctor at USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis, which trains Olympians. Those elite athletes, too, said they were victims.

The scandal was a disaster for Michigan State. It agreed to pay $500 million to victims. Separately, the U.S. Education Department ordered the school to make sweeping changes and pay a $4.5 million penalty.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last fall said Nassar’s actions were “disgusting and unimaginable” and that the university’s response fit the same description.

In February, former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages was convicted of lying to police. She had denied that two teens told her about Nassar’s abuse in 1997.

News 8 contributed to this report.

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