Nassar survivors on MSU: Lies, betrayal, no optimism

Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State University Board of Trustees spent the last meeting of the year much like the first: listening to people outraged by how MSU is responding to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

The recent closure of the $10 million Healing Assistance Fund drove much of Friday’s public comment.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the young women who depended on the Healing Fund for lifesaving treatment, and how you abandoned them. We heard it all during impact statements and I lived through it: depression, PTSD, self-harm, suicidal thoughts. Survivors who were not healthy enough to undergo the labor of civil litigation were supposed to have access to life-sustaining treatment, and then you took it away. (It’s) betrayal,” Nassar survivor Morgan McCaul said during her three-minute statement.

Interim MSU President John Engler said the fund was meant for those seeking civil litigation, and therefore its closure is justified now that the $500 million settlement is finalized. Those who were at the Dec. 2017 meeting establishing the fund contradict his assertion.

“When (the board) set up the fund, there were very loose parameters. So for him to say that was the intent, he wasn’t even in the picture, so that is yet another lie. That’s all he does. He just lies to fit his agenda,” Lisa Lorincz told 24 Hour News 8 after the meeting.

She and her daughter, Kaylee, have continued to say Engler perjured himself in July when he told U.S. Senators he never offered them a settlement during a meeting without an attorney present.

Kaylee Lorincz made that allegation in April during public comment at another meeting. Friday, she pointed out trustee Joel Ferguson contributed $1,000 to newly-elected trustee Brianna Scott’s campaign shortly before last month’s election.

According to Michigan’s campaign contribution database online, the only other contribution Ferguson made for the midterm election was to newly-elected Michigan Supreme Court Justice Meghan Kavanaugh, in the same amount.

Lorincz believes that says something about Ferguson’s intent to influence Scott’s actions when she joins the board.

“I would love to say I’m optimistic of the new board in the new year, but at this point, I have no optimism,” Kaylee Lorincz said.

The board will have two new trustees in 2019 — Scott and Kelley Tebay. Trustee Mitch Lyons and Chairman Brian Breslin did not seek re-election. Both were commended for their service by fellow trustees.

Trustees also took time to thank George Perles for his commitment to MSU. Perles, 84, resigned from his trustee position last month, citing health issues.  Gov. Rick Snyder said he would appoint his replacement “in the near future.”

Without elaborating, Engler alluded to the lawsuit Perles is named in, which accused him of covering up a rape allegation against Larry Nassar. Engler said he believes there will be a positive outcome sometime next week. 

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