An attorney hired by Michigan State University to look into its conduct in the Larry Nassar scandal says no one at the university knew about his conduct until the media reported allegations against him in late 2016.
That’s according to a letter from the attorney to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who requested a copy of a “report” that MSU conducted.
Nassar is the former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing patients for years under the guise of treatment. He also pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced for, possession of child pornography. A judge on Thursday sentenced him to 60 years in prison.
Nassar, along with MSU and USA Gymnastics, are also the targets of a civil suit filed by more than 100 women and girls who say the organizations should have done more to stop Nassar earlier.
Those victims, along with Schuette, say they want to see MSU’s report on the matter.
But in a letter written by Pat Fitzgerald, a former U.S. Attorney now in private practice and representing MSU, said there’s no report to that effect.
“MSU cannot produce an investigative report for a simple reasons: as has been stated publicly before, there is no investigative report,” he said. Fitzgerald said they were hired to see if anyone assisted or concealed Nassar conduct. Had they found it, they said they would have reported it. “And much as there is no ‘investigative report,’ there is no document that constitutes ‘Fitzgerald findings,'” he said.
“We believe the evidence will show that no MSU official believed that Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in the late summer 2016,” he said.
The findings conflict with the accounts of some women and girls who have said they informed various people at MSU, including a coach, trainers, and in one case, a counselor.
But Fitzgerald says “It is clear Nassar fooled everyone around him – patients, friends, colleagues, and fellow doctors at MSU.”
“While many in the community today wish that they had identified Nassar as a predator, we believe the evidence in this case will show that no one else at MSU knew that Nassar engaged in criminal behavior,” he concluded. “On a number of occasions, Nassar was even devious enough to deceive parents who were present in the room during the abuse.”
6 News asked a university spokesman if, lacking a report, if there was documentation as to who investigators talked to and how they came to their conclusion. 6 News also asked if MSU would be willing to share that documentation with the public or the Attorney General.
A spokesman said that as MSU is “in the midst of ongoing litigation, it is inappropriate to discuss specifics of this matter,” but that Fitzgerald did offer to brief the Attorney General’s office on their internal review, “pursuant to a procedure which does not waive any applicable privileges in civil litigation.”
Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman with the Attorney General’s office says “We are reviewing to determine next steps.”