Who should investigate Michigan State University’s handling of sexual assault allegations against Nassar?

OKEMOS, MI (WLNS) – There’s been a lot of questions surrounding whether or not the Michigan State University Police Department should be investigating the sexual assault allegations against former MSU Doctor Larry Nassar and MSU’s handling of the issue.

The answer varies, depending on who you ask.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says it supports the MSU Police Department’s efforts in the investigation, seeing no problems or conflicts.

However, when it comes to some of the attorneys who are representing clients in this case, some say while the MSU Police Department has done well with the criminal investigation into Nassar, there’s some concerns when it comes to MSU and its staff members.

Okemos attorney David Middleman with Church Wyble, a division of Grewal Law says while he believes MSU Police are able to conduct and handle the criminal investigation of Nassar, there’s concerns when it comes to MSU.

“I’m a little skeptical of their ability to hold Michigan State accountable if they find evidence of wrong doing,” Mittleman said. “I mean if it’s not a crime, what are they going to do? Then turn over the information they get to an investigative body within MSU? We know that has failed and left scars on way too many women.”

The first week of February, attorney Jamie White, who is representing some of the victims said the MSU Police Dept. is doing a good job of investigating allegations against Nassar, but he’s also concerned police aren’t doing enough to investigate how other people within the university handled the allegations.

The Michigan State University Police Department has really taken the reigns on this investigation and MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap said as many as 17 investigators and analysts are assigned to this case and are getting ready to prepare their findings to be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office.

He said because they’ve been working on it for the last seven months, it would be hard for any agency to just pick it up.

Here’s what he said in part:

“MSU is not investigating these cases, the police department is investigating. I think the reality will be whether or not charged are issues as a result of those investigations. That is the end goal. Considering we are one of the larger police agencies in the state, I am not sure where those resources would come from elsewhere. The majority of these crimes are not federal so there is no standing for a federal agency to investigate state crimes.”

On Wednesday, attorney White confirmed a third allegation was made against now-retired MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages.

In a complaint filed back on January 27th by White, it’s alleging that a victim claimed a “coaching staff member suggested that someone may have planted the child pornography on Nassar’s property to frame the doctor.

Wednesday, White confirmed that the “coaching staff member” accused in the complaint was Klages.

In two other and separate complaints, alleged victims have accused Klages of failing to report cases of abuse by Larry Nassar to the university.

It’s important to note, Klages has not been named as a defendant in any lawsuit relating to this case and has denied any accusations of failing to report sexual abuse complaints to MSU.

She also said she’s cooperating with all investigations and will continue to do so moving forward.

Earlier this week, Klages was suspended from her duties as MSU’s gymnastics coach and just a day later, her attorney announced her retirement.

Nassar is currently behind bars on federal charges of child pornography after police say they found tens of thousands of images at his home in Holt.

Nassar also faces three counts of first degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Ingham County and is expected to be in court on those charges later this week.

He’s also the target of at least six civil lawsuits, some of which name MSU as a defendant.

Nassar has pleaded not guilty to all of his accusations and denied any wrongdoing.

Since the allegations first became public knowledge at the end of 2016, a university spokesman said the university was not aware of any complaints against Nassar until 2014.

The university says at that time, it investigated the complaint and took action.

The university also fired Nassar in September of 2016 after more complaints prompted another investigation.

Stay with 6 News, we’ve been following this investigation for months and will continue to do so moving forward.

 

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