Former dean credits himself for response to Nassar scandal

EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Dr. William Strampel has been criticized for his handling of a 2014 Title IX investigation against Larry Nassar. But in a recent review of his performance, he said his leadership skills during a time when the university is under scrutiny was a “major accomplishment.”

Strampel, who recently stepped down from his role as the dean of Osteopathic Medicine, created a new set of guidelines for Nassar to follow as a result of a 2014 Title IX investigation, prompted by a patient’s concerns that Nassar sexually assaulted her.

Those guidelines included requirements for Nassar to have someone else in the room while performing procedures of anything close to a sensitive area, explaining the procedure and obtaining consent beforehand, and alerting other people in the practice about those procedures.

But Strampel told investigators he didn’t tell staff members at MSU Sports Medicine Clinic about the guidelines because he felt it would be “inappropriate.”

And according to a 19-page police report released by MSU, campus police and the FBI interviewed several university employees in 2017, many of them said they were not aware of any extra requirement.

Strampel also told police that because Nassar was “cleared of all charges,” he did not feel the need to follow up with Nassar to ensure he was complying with the new guidelines.

Nassar was fired by MSU in September of 2016 after the university said it discovered he had failed to follow the guidelines set forth by Strampel.

According to contents of Strampel’s personnel file obtained through FOIA, when asked about the most important thing he accomplished in 2017, Strampel said “Leading the College of Osteopathic Medicine during one of its most difficult periods while keeping as much of the turmoil separate from day-to-day operations has been an ongoing challenge and a major accomplishment.”

Strampel took on his role as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2002. He stepped away from that role in December 2017 citing medical reasons.

The two-page review, which is dated July 1, 2017, was written several months after Nassar was charged with more than a dozen criminal sexual conduct charges in Ingham and Eaton Counties. He was also facing three child pornography charges at the federal level.

Two days before Strampel submitted this review, a judge in Eaton County found enough evidence to send Nassar to trial on the sexual assault charges. He was already facing trial for even more sexual assault charges in Ingham County.

In the review, Strampel also expressed concern over the Nassar scandal having a negative effect on the reputation of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and the university as a whole.

“As a negative situation continues to gain attention, it has the potential to affect the college’s professional reputation, its applicant pool, faculty and staff morale, hiring, etc. Maintaining our national reputation is vital to MSU and for the profession,” he said. “The college has been a state and national leader in educating primary care physicians and a primary goal in facing any difficulty is to protect its reputation along with that of MSU.”

“Engaging hindsight is a particularly poignant exercise this year and it is too tempting to second-guess decisions that were made using the best information that was available at the time,” Strampel added.

6 News reached out to Strampel through his attorney for comment on this story. She declined due to pending litigation.

Nassar has since been sentenced in all three criminal cases against him.

The 54-year-old is currently serving his 60-year federal prison sentence in Arizona for child pornography charges. He also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting patients under the guise of treatement. He was sentenced to 40 to 175 years on those charges. To date, more than 260 women have reported sexual abuse by Nassar to law enforcement.

On Friday, Interim MSU President John Engler announced that the university is taking steps to fire Strampel for his “failure to monitor and enforce clinical practice guidelines put in place for Nassar following the conclusion of a 2014 sexual harassment investigation.”

According to a letter sent on Friday to MSU Provost June Youatt, the vice president and special counsel to Engler requested that Strampel’s tenure be dismissed for cause.

Tenure prohibits MSU from being able to fire Strampel outright. He can, however, be dismissed from his duties.

“The basis for this request is Dr. Strampel’s failure to monitor and enforce clinical practice guidelines put in place for former doctor Larry Nassar following the conclusion of a 2014 sexual harassment investigation,” the letter said. “It would be incompatible with the exceptions for teaching and clinical faculty within the College of Osteopathic Medicine for Dr. Strampel to resume his faculty appointment given his lack of actions described above.”

According to the 2014 Title IX investigation, a woman told Title IX officials and police that Nassar rubbed his ungloved hands near her vagina and touched her breasts.

Documents obtained by 6 News show that attorney Kristin Moore, who was the Title IX investigator for the 2014 case, produced two separate versions of the report.

One version, which was given to MSU and Nassar, said that because the treatments were perceived as sexual abuse, Nassar’s failure to adequately explain procedures “is opening the practice up to liability and is exposing patients to unnecessary trauma.”

That language, containing the words “liability,” was not printed in the other version which was given to the complainant.

In fact, in an email that Moore sent to Strampel, she even admitted to producing two different reports.

“Hi Bill—as we discussed, I am forwarding the email (just sent) which provided the report to Dr. Nassar. I also just sent a copy to the claimant, without the substantive text in the conclusion section,” Moore wrote.

Both versions cleared Nassar of any wrongdoing, saying what Nassar did was medical treatment.

The Ingham County Prosecutors also declined to press charges.