A former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor was questioned by a mid-Michigan police department back in 2004 after a patient complained about his behavior – a case that has since been re-opened.
The doctor, Larry Nassar, now faces multiple state and federal charges including sexual assault and child pornography. He also faces around half a dozen civil lawsuits by dozens of former patients who claim he molested them while treating them.
The 2004 allegation was noted in Nassar’s personnel files at MSU, which were obtained by 6 News.
MSU fired Nassar after word of the sexual assault scandal broke in late 2016, in part because officials there say he failed to disclose the Meridian Township investigation about a “similar patient complaint” to officials at the university.
Nassar’s attorney tells 6 News that police did question his client after a complaint back in 2004 and turned their findings over to the Ingham County prosecutor’s office, but that the case was closed after the prosecutor declined to file charges.
But the Meridian Township Police Department would not release the police report to 6 News, saying it was part of an on-going investigation and that the files had been turned over and the case re-opened.
“The report has been turned over to the Attorney General’s Office and is considered an open investigation,” said Records Unit Supervisor Cindy Cummings in a letter to the station dated Monday.
The Attorney General’s office says it is investigating dozens of complaints against Nassar, who lives in Holt.
The letter from Meridian Township also says “the report contains anticipated testimony of witnesses through their statements made to law enforcement.”
Officials at MSU insist they never heard complaints about any wrongdoing by Nassar until 2014. At that time, they say they launched an investigation and took action.
According to a July 6, 2014 letter in his personnel file, Dean William Strampel told Nassar that a complaint says he performed a procedure on a patient that “caused emotional distress because of her interpretation,” and that as a result, another resident or nurse needed to be in the room whenever Nassar performed procedures that were close to a patient’s sensitive areas.
The email goes on to say, “Should this be absolutely necessary, the procedure will be explained in detail with another person in the room for both the explanation and the procedure.”
Strampel went on to say that Nassar should modify this treatment in the future to be sure that there is little to no “skin to skin” contact when in these regions.
In letter to Nassar in September of 2016, the chair of the Department of Radiology at MSU said that police had received two new complaints that suggested Nassar had not followed those guidelines. The letter also says Nassar admitted not always following those protocols in an interview with MSU police.
A spokesman for MSU says the university did not know of any allegations against Nassar until the 2014 complaint. The records obtained by 6 News contain no evidence that MSU knew about the 2004 Meridian Township investigation into Nassar until sometime after the 2014 investigation.
The letter that told Nassar he was fired says he was not “truthful” when asked about prior complaints about the procedure he performed.
Nassar is behind bars and being held without bond pending the outcome of the state and federal cases. Nassar and his attorneys have maintained that his conduct was part of accepted medical treatments.