LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The group of survivors and parents formed in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex crimes trial is now demanding an expansion of the investigation into former MSU football head coach Mel Tucker.
“While the university has lawyers investigating many questions in the Tucker case, they should address when the administration knew about the survivor in the Tucker complaint, and what they did about it,” Parents of Sister Survivors Engage (POSSE) director Valerie von Frank said in a statement Thursday. “We don’t want another survivor to face the endless ‘kick-the-can-down-the-road’ approach with all the emotional harm that brings.”
The university fired Tucker in late September following a USA Today story revealing allegations of sexual harassment by a university contractor. In late October, an official MSU investigation concluded Tucker sexually harassed MSU contractor and rape survivor Brenda Tracy.
Documents show that Tracy first reported Tucker’s sexual harassment to MSU’s Title IX office in December 2022. MSU did not publicly respond to the allegations or act to suspend Coach Tucker until after the story broke in USA Today on Sept. 10.
POSSE officials claimed in the statement Thursday that “Interim President Teresa Woodruff and Athletic Director Alan Haller refused in a Sept. 10 news conference and since to say what actions the university took after an assault complaint was filed against the coach, and whether administrators followed through on any disciplinary actions. A memo released under the Freedom of Information Act redacted information about what disciplinary actions the university took.”
POSSE, which was formed in 2018 in response to Nassar’s sex crimes and the ensuing scandal, has criticized the recent infighting between MSU board members. They say the internal dispute is distracting from “core problems with the university itself and how it deals with sexual assault,” according to Nassar survivor Melissa Hedecz.
The group, along with other parties, including Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, has made several requests to the university for the release of more than 6,000 documents related to the Nassar case. The board of trustees continues to deny those requests.
In Thursday’s news release, POSSE said the university needs to resolve standing questions in both the Nassar and Tucker cases before a new president begins at MSU.
“They need to think about how to restore trust in the institution,” said POSSE parent Lisa Hall. “We shouldn’t be picking up our morning papers and reading about another case of an MSU employee sexually abusing someone. The school has to be transparent about who knew what and when at least in both these big cases. Until the leadership does that, the school can’t address its cultural problems, and every student is at greater risk of having the same thing happen to them.”