MSU fires doctor facing sexual assault allegations
EAST LANSING - A Michigan State University doctor facing a growing chorus of sexual assault allegations has been fired by the university, officials confirmed today.
Dr. Larry Nassar, an associate professor in MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine who served as USA Gymnastics' team physician during four Olympic Games, already had been relieved of clinical and patient duties.
Late last week, the university initiated the process to end Nassar's fixed-term appointment. He was formally fired today said university spokesman Jason Cody.
"Over the past week, the university received additional information that raised serious concerns about Nassar’s compliance with certain employment requirements," he said.
Matt Newburg, Nassar's attorney, acknowledged his client's termination but declined to comment.
The university has received "multiple" new allegations of sexual assault by Nassar since last week, Cody said, though he would not disclose how many.
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The university’s crime log indicates 11 sexual assaults have been reported to police since Sept. 13. The reports allege that incidents took place in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014.
Nassar was the subject of a misconduct complaint in 2014, brought by a woman who was a recent MSU graduate and alleging "abuse during a medical procedure."
The university investigated the complaint but did not find a violation of MSU policy, Cody said. After its 2014 investigation, the university referred police reports to Stuart Dunnings III, who was the Ingham County prosecuting attorney at the time. His office declined to file charges.
"There were certain performance requirements put into place after the 2014 investigation," Cody said. "Information was received that those requirements were not consistently met.
"Additionally," he continued, during the current investigation "the university learned Nassar was not forthcoming when questioned about other previous allegations" made to outside police agencies.
Cody would not specify what those requirements were, citing the university's ongoing investigation.
Nassar's termination does not affect ongoing investigations by MSU Police and MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity of allegations of sexual abuse, he said.
In addition to serving as the team physician for the MSU women's gymnastics and women's crew teams, Nassar worked as a team physician at Twistars Gymnastics Club USA and Holt High School.
He worked for Holt through a contract the district had with MSU, the deputy superintendent Scott Szpara said. District officials told the university last week they no longer want to work with Nassar.
He has not had contact with Holt students this year, Szpara said.
John Geddert, owner of Twistars, declined to comment last week and would not say whether Nassar is still affiliated with the academy. He could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
Nassar said last week in an email that he is withdrawing his bid for a seat on the Holt Schools Board of Education, even though it is too late for him to technically withdraw from the Nov. 8 election.
The deadline to withdraw was July 26, which means Nassar's name will appear on the ballot, said Robin Stites, an election coordinator with the Ingham County Clerk's Office.
Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Gretchen Whitmer said last week that a "handful" of people who say they were victims of Nassar have contacted her since a story was published in the Indianapolis Star and Lansing State Journal detailing the accounts of two women who allege the doctor sexually abused them.
"As soon as publicity was given to this, more people have reached out," she said.
Dunnings, who resigned from office in July and pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to prostitution-related charges, declined to comment last week through an attorney when asked how his office handled the 2014 case review.
Whitmer said she can't say if she's confident Dunnings' office made the right decision in 2014 until she reviews all the details of the case. She released a report in July in which she said Dunnings' alleged wrongdoings did not infect the office or the cases it worked on. Whitmer said her review did not include the 2014 case.
When asked if the 2014 case has been reopened, Whitmer told the State Journal last week, "everything is being looked at."
Contact Christopher Haxel at (517) 377-1261 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHaxel. Contact Matt Mencarini at (517) 267-1347 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMencarini. Curt Smith contributed to this report.